Tom Cordle

Tom Cordle
Beeffee, Tennessee, CSA
June 16
There is your truth ... there is my truth ... and there is everything between. That leads to the better question: Is there an Everlasting Truth? I submit there is only the Everlasting Quest for the truth. __________________________________ I believe that in essence We are God. That is to say, humankind, for all it's faults, has power over Good and Evil. As the Eden Tale intimates, humans alone, in all Creation, have "eaten" from the the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil; and thus humans alone, in all Creation, have the ability and responsibility to choose between the two. Thus, each of us is in essence a god, and the Sum of us, through all generations past, present and future is God. By those choices, we are the creators of what was, what is and what will be. And by those choices, we, collectively, choose whether to exist here and now in the Kingdom of Heaven or in a Living Hell. _________________________________ "I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and incur my own abhorrence." Frederick Douglass _________________________________ "You can't pull yourself up by your bootstraps if you don't have any boots, and you can't put yourself in another's shoes -- you can't even try on their socks." Soulofhawk _________________________________ "I prefer silent vice to ostentatious virtue." Albert Einstein _________________________________ Only in silence can your hear the voice of God." Soulofhawk ____________________________________ "In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends." Martin Luther King, Jr" ____________________________________ "Racists can hide in the closet, but the smell usually gives them away." Soulofhawk _________________________________ "Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it." Mark Twain ____________________________ "When we are young, Death comes as an unwelcome stranger; but as we get nearer the end of our own too-often rocky road, he comes more and more to resemble a long, lost acquaintance." Soulofhawk ____________________________________ “When monetary gain is involved, mans capacity for self-delusion is infinite.” Lord Byron _________________________________ "Where greed is good, need is great." Soulofhawk _________________________________ “And let it be noted that there is no more delicate matter to take in hand, nor more doubtful in its success, than to set up as a leader in the introduction of change. For he who innovates will have as his enemies all who are well off under the existing order of things, and only lukewarm supporters in those who might be better off under the new. This lukewarm temper arises partly from the incredulity of mankind, who will never admit the merit of anything new, until they have seen it proven by the event.” Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince, Chapter VI _________________________________ "if a man falls from a pedestal, who is really to blame -- the man or those who put him up there?" Soulofhawk ____________________________________ "The history of any country, presented as the history of a family, conceals fierce conflicts of interest (sometimes exploding, most often repressed) between conquerors and conquered, masters and slaves, capitalists and workers, dominators and dominated in race and sex. And in such a world of conflict, a world of victims and executioners, it is the job of thinking people, as Albert Camus suggested, not to be on the side of the executioners." Howard Zinn _______________________________ "The worst thing to be around a bigot is right." Soulofhawk ______________________________


DECEMBER 29, 2008 3:19PM

No Country for Old Cliches

Rate: 15 Flag

soundsationsWords have mattered to me as long as I can remember. I always wanted to be a writer, but music was always a close second. I'm not sure which has brought me more joy. I know neither has ever brought me much money.

Some friends and I put our first band together when I was 16. Three guitars and drums, no bass, no keyboards, just three guitars and three chords. We were awful, a garage band that didn’t even have a garage.

I was incredibly shy – hard to believe isn't it? I don’t know how I worked up the courage, but at 16 I played my first solo – One Mint Julep – very poorly, but I won two tickets to the movie The Music Man. I was hooked on performing for life.

I worked my way through college playing in bands; it took eight years. I was in no hurry; there wasn’t much in my life worth looking back on, and my present was pretty pleasant, playing in a band was a ticket to good times, free booze and easy women.

We had a band called The Soundsations that was about the hottest thing in Kalamazoo for a couple of years back in The Sixties. We even made an album Shout way back when studios only had two tracks. Little did I know it would become a collectible.

Man, I thought I was hot shit – on the outside anyway, and like I said, I was in no hurry; I had my whole life in front of me. Too late you learn how short life really is.

At 25, I decided it was time to grow up – nobody could ever make a living out of rock'n'roll after 25, right?. Curse you, Keith Richards.

I got married and sold all my gear. I knew I had to quit music cold-turkey or it would keep messing up my life. It was time to become Mr. Businessman. My mistake.

Whatever I was running from was still chasing me, and I kept screwing up, and I couldn’t blame it on the music anymore. I tried therapy, and all I learned was that there were a lot of people just as screwed up as I was. I got one piece of good advice that has stuck with me ever since:

“A man’s only authority is his own experience.”

It's true, but a man pays a helluva price for that experience.

At 35, in the middle of a painful divorce, I was lonely and living in a hole – literally. I had a tiny black and white TV with some kinda electronic neurosis that split the screen in two – the top half of the picture was on the bottom, and the bottom half was on the top. That’s one way to kick the TV habit.

After awhile, I got bored with my bad TV, and I bought a beat-up old acoustic guitar with strings about a half-inch off the neck. I started writing songs. Suddenly, stuff started pouring out of me, including Desperate Men, a song I posted elsewhere on OS.

Cheaper than therapy, I figured, write ‘em down, get it out of your system, it’ll dry up pretty soon. But every now and then, I’d write something I really liked and think, hey, that’s not half-bad, maybe I oughta find out if these songs are any good.

A buddy had a friend in Nashville who was a stringer for Variety. I sent three songs off to him. Somewhere I still have his reply:

“This is better than the usual over-the-transom fare, but your use of clichés will not be well-received in Nashville.”

Now I’ll admit, I don’t always take criticism well. My first reaction was “No clichés in Nashville? Are you shittin’ me? Nashville is a cliché!”

My second reaction was to write a song:

Old Cliche

Maybe my song’s not good enough
And you’ve heard it all before
And I can’t convey the way I feel
When someone walks out that door

Well, I poured out my heart and soul to you
But you just tear my words apart
It may be an old cliché
But to me it’s a broken heart

So let that ol’ fiddle start crying
And let that steel guitar moan
And let that harp bend all them sad notes again
‘Cause I’m feeling all alone

Still, I wish I had words to make you feel
But I don’t know where to start
It may be an old cliché to you
But to me it’s a broken heart

©2008 Tom Cordle

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No country for old cliches
I like the song, cliches and all. rated
Thanks, Mick and Emma, it's been a day when I could use a little uplifting.
You're right - Nashville IS a cliche, so what exactly did the friend mean, anyway?

are all cliches old, by definition?

Good post, sort of like doing a 25 meme but in story format, which I prefer.
Sandra no longer Miller :-) Good idea, maybe I'll change the title to 25 Old Cliches About Me

As for the critique, I didn't know whether to find it encouraging -- better than the usual over the transom -- or discouraging -- you're a cliched-riddled hack. In either case, it didn't stop me; I've got about 900 more gathering dust
you want a good laugh about Nashville, go download a copy of Robbie Fulks's tune "Fuck This Town."

And I like the song.
Tom, great line about Nashville being a cliche. Our passions don't give up do they? They stay insistent. I'm glad you're listening to them. You're very talented,'s true, you know it. Love "Old Cliche".
Liz - relatin' to Robbie. The Nashville version of Catch-22 goes something like this:

"We're lookin' for somethin' completely different"

or if you have something that's different:

"You need to listen to the radio and figure out what's selling."
Thanks, MaryT, you're always good to me -- and today I can use some good. If I ever figure out how, I may post an mp3 or video here one day.
Damn. Take away a man's cliches... he'd be unrecognizable.
Hey -- we're on YouTube. I usually played bass, but on this tune I'm on organ (no jokes, please!). Pure Sixties garage-band garbage, but a lot of fun! Johhny Boggs on vocals, Dave Clelland on drums and the late great Dexter Bell, God rest his soul, on guitar.
Mantalk - my line is none of us could last a day without rationalization.
Tom, it's easy to do...meaning give you a compliment. And it's easy to put the video thing up. I figured it what else can I say. Just do it.
Hey Tom, I'm with MTN, If you took away my cliches. I wouldn't be able to speak.
And somebody needs to tell Toby Kieth, Brad Paisley, Allen Jackson, Kelley Pickler, Rascal Flatts and the like that you can't use cliches in country music. I don't think they got the memo.
Gotta go see the video now.
That's definitely the sound of the sixties. You guys were pretty good! I was about eight at the time. I can here the Motown and the English influence on that track. Cool!
Thanks, Michael. BTW, you're you know what showed up in the mail today. Thanks for that, too. Book goes out tomorrow with any luck.
Love your stories, Tom.
Tom, were you the lead vocal? At any rate, so glad you put the link up for youtube, although you know you could put it up in a more visual way right on your post...something to aspire to. ANYWAY, the vocals on that song were well...dreamy. Loved it!!!! Wish I could thumb again.
Mary, no, I didn't do much singing in that band, Johnny Boggs was the lead singer and your typical me, me, me, like a certain troll I could mention. He got insanely jealous if anyone else sang anything other than back-up in the band.We did have a chick singer who went by Patsy Cline, though she was actually married to the drummer.

There's another YouTube post of the band with her singing that's much, much better:
Thanks, Jimmy, coming from you that's high praise -- but I still ain't goin' for Al Pacino.
Mary, no, I didn't do much singing in that band, Johnny Boggs was the lead singer, and he was your typical me, me, me, like a certain troll I could mention. He got insanely jealous if anyone else in the band sang anything other than back-up.

We did have a chick singer who went by Patsy Cline, though she was actually married to the drummer. She had a wonderful voice, and she and John had Sonny and Cher down pat.

Here's a sample that's much, much better than the first one:
Mary, no, I didn't do much singing in that band, Johnny Boggs was the lead singer, and he was your typical me, me, me, like a certain troll I could mention. He got insanely jealous if anyone else in the band sang anything other than back-up.

We did have a chick singer who went by Patsy Stevens, though she was actually married to the drummer. She had a wonderful voice, and she and John had Sonny and Cher down pat.

Here's a sample that's much, much better than the first one:
This is a good bittersweet story, Tom. What I like about it most, aside from the color (which is great), is the unpitying eye you turn on your life. I couldn't do that, myself.
Rob, self-pity is right next door to a martyr complex, all the therapy and counseling was useless until I was finally able to look in the mirror and say "You know, 90% of what happens in your life is a result of the decisions you make -- and you can't change even one of them. Move on."

It's only after you come to terms with all that that you can even begin to like yourself.
It sounds as though you've absorbed that lesson very well. Nice.
When you use the word "convey" in a C&W song, the gatekeepers probably knew you were some kind of smarty pants intellectual. But everyone on OS knows -- you've got heart and soul!
Old New Lefty
Not sure you happened on these old posts, but I'm sure glad you did -- and thanks for the kind words.
My own view is that we human beings think almost entirely in cliches, and I won't rest until that insight is itself a cliche. Fresh cliches for a new century, I say! Good story, well told.