Wake Of A Great Lakes Freighter
"Wake Of A Great Lakes Freighter"
Music & Lyrics by Scott Cooley.
Copyright © ℗ 2006 by Scott Cooley. All rights reserved.
Wake Of A Great Lakes Freighter is about people surfing on waves made by freighters (cargo ships) in the great lakes, which people really do. There's not much footage out there to prove it, and so it's regarded as a myth. Non-surfers are typically reluctant to believe it can be done. This warns of the potential hazards in a reggae style. I've tried to write and record reggae or ska types of songs before with mixed results, but this one is one of my better attempts. It's hard for a white guy with no rhythm from Michigan to pull off. Whether I have any business doing such a thing in the first place is your call, but I did it regardless of whether I had any right to - I don't seek opinions or permission, I go for it while the mood strikes. There is a cool flanger or phaser effect I used on the lead guitar that I really like and also I used a cymbal to get a sound that is sort of like a ship's bell which I was pleased with too.
Aside from the music and the concept working well, the lyrics don't quite make sense, I admit. The astute listeners/lyric readers, and "in the know" great lakes freighter surfers out there will surely have noticed the technicality violations and overall silliness of the story/advice content. Someone famous like Neil Young probably wouldn't admit stuff like this, but I do. It's far from a "best of" but it's interesting enough to be a deep album cut for me. Obviously the song had enough going for it - that is, it fired on enough cylinders for me to release it according to my own weeding out process standards, low as they may be, and as-is, didn't warrant further time spent on rewriting. You think it's funny that I think people won't notice, but I know some will, and didn't intend to pull the wool over anyone's eyes, I'm just lazy. ;-) As a Scott Cooley music fan, you're surely already aware I'm not too serious about this hobby, and I fully realize the lyrical shortcomings are often pretty darned funny. I'm laughing when you are while listening myself, and was while writing & recording too. It is balancing on the edge of cringe and laugh, so I leave it that way, and chalk it up to emotion-evoking songwriting brilliance. In reality, I listen back and say to myself, "not sure where I was going with that line" or "I was onto something, but then it went in a weird direction," so although in that way it's incomplete, I considered it finished anyway, which is both slightly insane and pretty hilarious.
I had some good starts and ideas in there, but for example: it's not likely you'll hit your head on a rock if you wipe out while surfing the wake, since you'll be far from shore where it's really deep water; and you'll also be far from the freighter's propeller when you're surfing a freighter's wake - behind the freighter even - so it's unlikely you'll get sucked into it and get chopped up by it; and on a related note, other boats steer clear of freighters, so you wouldn't get sucked into their propellers either because they wouldn't be where you are when surfing; and then there's the can't stop 'till you reach shore or a dock part, which isn't true - you can wipe out, and paddle to shore, maybe even catch a secondary following wave, but they're gone in a hurry. At least in this scenario, you don't have to worry about sharks like in the ocean, as pointed out in the bridge, but there are few places to surf where you'd have to worry about getting eaten by an alligator! So yeah, these are examples of how the song's lyrics aren't quite realistic, but get past it and enjoy the music, concept, reggae-ish vibe, and flanger effect on the solo, and you'll be fine.