Songwriting While Asleep: “Let You Go” Blues Ditty


“Blues” by Jean-Jacques Surian, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. See here.

One of the oddest and indisputably coolest dream experiences I’ve had involved composing this blues song–I was dreaming of writing the verses and hearing the melody. I believe I finished the first three verses within the dream, woke up remembering everything, and finished the last verses: voila, the birth of “Let You Go,” as I’ve titled the song.

The odd thing to me about this experience was not necessarily dreaming of creating something like a song, but the specificity of the melody and lyrics, the clarity of the memory of what I’d composed, and the fact that it came out pretty much whole–I did not really have to edit either the melody or the verses. The other oddness is that the song is fairly foreign to what I normally like singing (I rarely write music), which is typically traditional folk music. Not that I don’t like jazz and blues, but they are on the periphery of my musical sphere.

Which all leads me to the queer feeling like some other person or entity “gave” me the song. (When I think about this, I harken to Stephen King’s Bag of Bones novel with its ghost-of-a-jazz-singer spookiness. Hmm.) I know this is a woo-woo notion, and I suppose there could be a blues musician living amongst the other eclectic residents of my unconscious mind-space, but I can’t quite shake the idea that this particular creative product was channeled, if you will, through me more than it was produced by me. I can’t speak to its quality objectively, but I can vouch that it is many levels better than anything I could have come up with in my waking state!

Here’s the song, which I recorded using the oh-so-fun program UJAM. Please forgive the metronome–I learned the hard way that if you use this function (the audio metronome: there’s a visual one too that’s silent) you must wear earphones, or else it will be recorded along with your voice. I know, I need to re-record, but until I do you can hear the rough version:

Yes, that’s me singing; a different voice would probably do the song more justice, but I think I’m able to convey the spirit of the song fairly well.

So here are the lyrics:

Let You Go

Oh Lord I’ve got to let you go,
Oh Lord I’ve got to let you go:
Gotta send you on your way,
and I don’t know what I’ll say,
can’t wait another day to let you know.

Once I was young and I was free
Then boy you got a hold on me:
Ya, you made me lose my mind,
and your love it struck me blind.
I know I’ll never find what I can’t see

Now don’t beg me baby, I don’t care,
and don’t try to find me, I’m not there:
You don’t love me you just cry,
when it’s time to say goodbye,
but I can’t live a lie to make it fair.

Now that you’re gone I want you bad,
Oh now that you’re gone I feel so sad:
I keep thinking ’bout the past,
Lord I want to make it last.
I never should of asked to make you mad.

Well come back now baby I’ll be good.
Now come back I’ll love you like I should.
Don’t you heed what you’ve been told,
’cause I’ve got a heart of gold,
and now I’m getting old, you know I could.

Don’t you heed what you’ve been told,
’cause I’ve got a heart of gold,
and now I’m getting old, you know I could.

* melody and lyrics © Lisa E. Coté