the song
title : A modest proposal
written by : David Hughes
song copyright : 1989? David Hughes / copyright control

the performance
musicians
David Hughes joint lead vocal, acoustic guitar
Eddi Reader joint lead vocal
Paul Millns keyboards
Nigel Portman-Smith bass
Roy Dodds drums
music
key : C major
time-signature : 4/4
tempo : MM 124
form : v V V C v M V C p
lyrics

provided for research and private study only (see above for copyright details):

A modest proposal

if I say to you that I will be true
and that I will never break your heart
what I mean to say is I mean it today
and tomorrow we may part
tomorrow we may part

for when you say to someone take my hand
well, that’s fine so long as you both understand
there’s no power above to save your love
from sinking through the sand
from sinking through the sand

it’s just a love song {ho-o-o-oh}
we sing all day long {all day long}
it’s just a love song {ho-o-o-oh}
we might well be wrong this time

in a different world we might not be the same
we could grow old like a constant flame
well these days marriage is only a technical hitch
to be together forever well you know it’s a bitch-a

so when the changes ring I’ll say the same thing
to another person out of the blue
and it may be sunshine could even be rain
but it’ll never be like you
to you I say that’s true

it’s just a love song {ho-o-o-oh}
we sing all day long {we sing all day long}
it’s just a love song {ho-o-o-oh}
we might well be wrong this time

da – da dada da, da da, ya ya, yada ya yada dum
bada da – da dada da, da ya, da ya, bada da
da – da bada dum
ba ba bom

explanations
most of the vocals are David and Eddi singing together in octaves or in tenths but I haven’t distinguished those lyrics; Eddi provides the interjections which are marked as backing vocals

the recording
personnel
produced by : David Hughes
recorded by : Andy Lucas at The Works, London in 1988 (approximately)
mixed by : ? at ?
mastered for CD by : Chris Thorpe at Serendipity
technical
track timing : 2:44
song timing : 2:37
released on
album : Active in the parish track 12

commentary
A jaunty, jazzy offer of a love which may not last. With Eddi and Roy on board this is very like some of the up-tempo Fairground Attraction numbers from about the same period (see the recording date) and the bass line sounds distinctly like that on the later ‘Ole buttermilk sky’. One assumes that the vibraphone sounds are in fact from the keyboard (Yamaha DX7 anyone?).

You used to be able to read David Hughes’ own note about this track on his Folk Corporation website, but it seems to have disappeared in the move to his new one!
Adrian Dover