Friday, July 22, 2011

The Lake (a ghost-story song)

Words and music copyright -- Tim Buck
All parts -- also me

The Lake

I float in my boat about one hundred yards from the shore.
I drift on the lake, drinkin' ten beers or more.
Summer sun cooks me up a serving of dreams,
and I drowse like that lazy faun by Claude Debussy.

Daydreams get stirred up with a relish of recall,
and I think about that time before the dam was installed.
All the homesteads were abandoned, the coffins disinterred.
Rites were performed so no curses would stir

stir the big water,
stir the big water,
stir the big water of Greer's Ferry Lake.

But sometimes the schemes of sincere mere men
get waylaid by unforeseen consequence.
I do believe that all of those cautions did fail.
I've seen things in the depths make a sober man quail.

Some of us folk got minds that are slightly free.
We don't mock our spirits, we don't chop down willow trees.
So what of those apparitions reported back then?
Has a liquid mausoleum sealed obsessions in

beneath big water,
beneath big water,
beneath the big water of Greer's Ferry Lake?

Sometimes when I peer down in the watery vast,
I see her mad spirit amid the crappie and the bass.
Not a-swimmin', she's a-swirlin', she's a-searchin' for God.
Gonna confront him for killin' her with diphtheria's blood rot.

Well, I ain't like those who have lost their inner eye.
My peripheral sight sees through what shadows glide.
Once as a boy jumpin' headstones, a spectre gave a fright.
Momma said that was a goat with long hair silken white.

So I am primed to see what lies beyond the pale.
Yes, I have a hoard of uncanny tales I could tell.
And I'll float upon this reservoir from end to blue end
until I can speak solace to my little restless friend.

Sometimes when I peer down in the watery vast,
I see her mad spirit amid the crappie and the bass.
Not a-swimmin', she's a-swirlin', she's a-searchin' for God.
Gonna confront him for killin' her with diphtheria's blood rot.

The waves of this lake lap incessantly.
Once into a lonesome cove at dusk I did drift.
The water transmogrified to mist eerily,
in the shape of a child, up through the pines she did lift.

Greer's Ferry Lake is in north-central Arkansas


  1. What?....huh....??? Is there anything you can't do? I love this. Is this the "Gothic Rangers" project? What else you got? Huh? What else are you hiding beneath the big water?

    I'm just full of questions. I love your voice. Bluesy, rocky, gravely. Ha! Electronic drums? Obviously you play guitar. Bass? What mixing equipment are you using? Ha!

    Loved it. I want a copy.

    Oh....and how do you get that little play track do-dad on your blog?

    Loved it. Did I say that?

  2. Thank you so much, Annie!

    After we released our CD, I wrote some new songs, this one of them. Robin and I couldn't get together at that time, so I did the lead guitar on this myself.

    Yes, this has electronic drums. The BOSS BR-600 recorder/mixer has selections. From them I build up the drum arrangement -- a quite laborious process. Trying to come up with different fills and some alternative approaches during the same song lends, I think, a semblance of reality. The main drawback is that the beat is too perfect. It doesn't allow for that human quality of subtle imprecision that breathes real life into the rhythm.

    Yes, I play rhythm guitar. As I said, I stretched out a bit and did some lead here. I also played the bass here, though Robin is the real bass player. He is strictly amazing.

    One thing I really like about this song came about sort of by accident. If your headphones are channeled like mine, it tales place in the left-hand side of the stereo image. I recorded a subsidiary electric rhythm guitar track for that side, with a lot of tremolo in the guitar. I also recorded a harmonica track and mixed in very near that guitar track. So they kind of blend together. And to me it has the effect of a bizarre, rootsy accordion. :)

    If you send me an email to this address, I can reply with an mp3 attachment of this song, with lyrics:

    About the play track do-dad: my daughter is the tech whiz on that stuff. I think I could send you the coding for the player itself. But to get songs to play, they have to be uploaded to a hosting page somewhere other than blogspot. I use Doteasy.

    Really glad you liked it. You made my evening. :)

  3. Another great tune, Tim! Man, you really have to put out another CD with all the stuff you've done since Omen. And wow, you get a really well-mixed, clear sound out of that Boss hard disk recorder. Nice job of programming the drums. The process you describe is very similar to what I do with my songs. There are some limitations to this approach, and it sure can be tough wearing that many hats, but it does give you all the creative control that you could ask for!

    Kyle F

  4. Hey Kyle!

    Sometimes I do pour a drink and pat myself on the back for five minutes. :))

    Words, music, arrangement, performance, engineering. It all comes swirling up through an organic, almost improvisational process. The subtle tweaking of knobs. Are the drums too loud? Not loud enough? And then you say to yourself, "Better too loud than not loud enough." Soon the recorder seems to become an extension of oneself. I would bet that the process is similar for you?


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  7. Hey Tim,

    Yep, the process is similar for me. The tune is usually fairly clear in my head, but getting it from there to a recorded song is fraught with challenges. I wear a lot of hats, and some of them fit better than others!

    Say, your song reminds me a lot of a very similar situatin that occurred in Massachusetts in the 1930s:


  8. Thanks for the link, Kyle. Very interesting and very cool! Neat photos.


  9. Please for Christ sake please help me
    I need your help and support to help PAY MY Tuition Fees. I need your only 3 to 5 minutes approximately

    What you have to do is
    1.go to and search "Kwotz-Golden Words of Life"
    2.then visit my blog from the the search results.
    3.Remain on the page i.e Kwotz for one minute or so and do some random surfing
    4. click ONE of the ads that appeals to you from AdChoices and visit there.
    5.remain on that page for one minute or so and do some random surfing.
    and that's it.

    NOTE: Please only visit through Google or any search engine. Only ONE click is needed.
    I will be grateful to you.
    May God Bless You.

  10. Please help me!

    What you have to do is this
    1. Return to this page
    2. then delete your comment
    3. add a new comment, apologizing for spamming my freaking page.

    and that's it.

  11. LOL. Hilarious. Your reply, that is.

  12. If the poor soul really needs help, I'll feel bad about my sarcasm. But just popping up here like a non sequitur seems a bit brash and odd. He could at least have liked my song or something. Ha.