'This can’t be right'

A Wednesday morning, summer in France: I woke up with the riff and the key and first line all there in my head. I reached out to my left and found my guitar on the bed. (Don’t ask.) So I had most of the song nailed before I got up. The rest of the words were done, tweeked and polished before 10am. Where did that beam in from? On the Friday the electric band played it (having learnt it at the sound check) at an outdoor gig at a little bar in the woods.

That was the famous night where the bar owner was filled with painkiller drugs and alcohol by the time we arrived and he insisted on personally cooking all the grilled food for 200 people (since most of the kitchen staff had resigned or been sacked). There was a lot of incinerated steak, frustrated customers and abused serving staff that night, I can tell you (in fact I just have). There was also a certain number starving and scorned and then abused musicians. My drummer was one molecule of testosterone away from thumping the guy and he packed up his kit and left between sets. An uplifting leadership talk (plus some pleading) from me brought him back (for which I am forever grateful) so we could complete what was a memorable gig. We had a once-only line-up of amazing players that included Alan Arthur (ex-child guitar protégé from Morpeth and Manchester, UK), Mar Tonani (Japanese guitar wizard), Marten Ingle (on electric bass, San Francisco’s finest) and Amaury Blanchard (star French drummer and drummer to the (French) stars). I digress…..

The song is about that dreadful realisation that things really do go wrong despite our intrinsic (unwarranted) optimism. The puncturing of the inflated hubris-filled faith, with all its messy negotiation, pleading and denial is predictable, sometimes sad but also can be funny. As the man said: “(you) have to laugh”. I imagined someone thinking of himself as action-hero film star who always wins in the end but who unexpectedly gets a role that turns out to be not quite what he expected. Originally it was a low key onset of realisation building to frantic loony discordant negotiation with God, but in the acoustic version in the studio it became much more cool and jazzy. It even got that gypsy jazz feel from that great interplay between Aurora’s violin and Jeremie’s guitar. And what about the pizzicato at the start of the solo: pretty surprising eh? Some people can’t figure what instrument it is until she comes in with the bow. I love the exchange of ideas between bass and drums and the other instruments. And listen out for when the brushes come back in towards the end of the solo, mmm, nice. I think this was the first or second take. In fact, I could say that for all the songs since I don’t think we did more than two takes for each.

BR

This can’t be right (Rutherford)

Bill Rutherford
acoustic rhythm guitar, vocal
Marten Ingle
double bass
Danny Montgomery
drums
Jerémie Tepper
acoustic guitar
Aurore Voilqué
violin

Lyrics

I never thought I’d be hangin’ from the cliff top, my fingers startin’ to slip

I never thought I`d be lying in my hot tub the iceberg chompin’ the ship

I never thought I’d be running through the snow fields the wolves beginning to call

I never thought I’d be walking down Main Street, piano beginning to fall

Hold on, hold on, don’t I usually win?

Hold on, hold on, better run that by me again

You made a mistake, you got it all wrong

I don’t know what’s happening but this aint my song

I don’t do this why can’t you see?

This doesn’t happen to me.

I never thought I’d go crunch through the ice runnin’ rye over Michigan

I never thought I’d be stuck in the spotlight goin’ down for a capital sin

I never thought I’d be tied to the rail track the cannonball on its way

I never thought I’d be testing gravitation my parachute folded away

Hold on, hold on, I told you I usually win

Hold on, hold on, we’ll go back and do it again

You made a mistake, you got it all wrong

I don’t know what’s happening but this aint my song

I don’t do this why can’t you see?

This doesn’t happen to me

This can’t be right, this isn’t happening to me

This can’t be right, this isn’t happening to me

I never thought I’d be strapped to the hot seat the juice beginning to flow

I never thought I’d be camped in the forest when Yellowstone finally blows

I never thought I’d be standing in the tower when Pisa is hit by a quake

I never thought I’d be conversing with God with a vacancy up at the stake

Hold on, hold on, don’t I usually win?

Hold on, hold on, better run that by me again

You made a mistake, you got it all wrong

I don’t know what’s happening but this aint my song

I don’t do this why can’t you see?

This doesn’t happen to me. This can’t be right, this isn’t happening to me

This can’t be right, this isn’t happening to me

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Listen to the track

This Can't Be Right