Thanks FJ, for the observations. I'll try lowering the volume of the harmonica. I also felt it was harsh. I need to read more and experiment with recording and mixing the harmonica. I've seen some folks EQ harmonica and take out all the lows and highs; I might give that a try.
Thanks for the suggestion of taking out "are". I think that would make it easier to sing and probably easier for folks to understand.
Thanks for all your kind words. I'm happy you thought it had a Neil Young vibe. I thought that too.
Here is the foreign language poem I started with:
Hättest du der Einfalt nicht, wie sollte
dir geschehn, was jetzt die Nacht erhellt?
Sieh, der Gott, der über Völkern grollte,
macht sich mild und kommt in dir zur Welt.
Hast du dir ihn größer vorgestellt?
Was ist Größe? Quer durch alle Maße,
die er durchstreicht, geht sein grades Los.
Selbst ein Stern hat keine solche Straße.
Siehst du, diese Könige sind groß,
und sie schleppen dir vor deinen Schoß
Schätze, die sie für die größten halten,
und du staunst vielleicht bei dieser Gift -:
aber schau in deines Tuches Falten,
wie er jetzt schon alles übertrifft.
Aller Amber, den man weit verschifft,
jeder Goldschmuck und das Luftgewürze,
das sich trübend in die Sinne streut:
alles dieses war von rascher Kürze,
und am Ende hat man es bereut.
Aber (du wirst sehen): Er erfreut.
Here are the drafts:
Hat test do dare eyeing fault nicked, wee Sultans
dirt gushing was jettisoned die Naked her hell
See dare God, dare big Vulcan growling
Make sick. Mild and come in dirt sure wilted.
Hats you dirt I grosser before stilts?
What is gross? Queer lurch all maize
die her lurch straight, gate sign graded loss
Self eyes stern hats kind gulch strands
seeing you these kings are gross
And she schlepps dirt before diner's shoes
Shootings die she for die gross haltings
and you staunch veal likes by diesel gifts
Abel shoes in diner touches the fallen
wee or jets shine always over trifles
All her amber, done man wet over trifles
Jesters--gold schmucks--and that lust for words
that such troubadours in the sins stretch
all these wars from rations cursed
and am ending had man in Beirut
a bird (you were saying) air air-fruit
The hat test. She dared him, eyeing his faults--wee Sultan
Dirt gushing, they were jettisoned--to die naked--her hell.
To see and dare God, dare a big growling Vulcan--gods of fire.
To make sick and mild. To come in the dirt--surely wilted.
Hats and dirt. Was I grosser before stilts?
What is gross? Queers lurch all through the corn maize.
She will lurch and die straight. The gate sign: grades, loss.
Looking at herself with stern eyes: hats, kindness, the gulch like strands of flowing hair.
Seeing her, these (kings, queens, queers) look gross.
And she schleps the breakfast and sweeps dirt over the diner's shoes.
Shootings. People die. She would die for these gross haltings.
And your staunch veal--like eyes that beg diesel gifts.
Abel's shoes in the diner touch the fallen (city of angles)
A small gesture--jets shining always over trifles.
All her amber done--men get wet over trifles.
Jesters--gold schmucks--and their lust for words
Such troubadours in their sins stretch
all these wars out from their cursed rations
and are ending. Men in Beirut. (Martyrs square; Lebanese civil war)
A bird--you were saying--gets lost to the air. Air fruit.
He tipped his hat. She eyed his faults. She dared him--wee Sultan.
Dirt gushing around them, they were jettisoned naked to die in their hell.
To see and dare God--to dare the big growling gods of the volcano (fire)
To be made sick and mild. To come in the dirt--his [*****] wilted.
Hats and dirt. Was I bigger when I walked on stilts?
What is disgusting? Queers lurching through the fields of corn.
She will lurch and die straight (not gay?). The gate sign: judgment and loss.
With stern eyes she looks in the mirror: hats and kindness. Her hair a dark river.
Seeing herself like this--she is the queen of disgust.
And she schleps the morning plates and sweeps dust over the diner's shoes.
Shootings. People die. She would die for these vulgar arrests.
And her staunch veal (slang- ) --her eyes like big diesel gifts.
Abel's bloody shoes in the diner touch the fallen.
always the small gesture--like a jet in the sun always shining over trifles.
All her amber spent--men get wet over trifles.
Tricksters and troubadours busting a gut for their golden lines (words)
Their sins stretch these wars out.
Their cursed rations are ending.
Like men in Beirut, their civil wars, their martyred squares.
A bird--you were saying--gets lost to the air. The fragrance of fruit (air fruit).
This gives you an idea of how the first few drafts evolve. From there, I usually come up with a progression and melody and then use those to measure and craft the subsequent drafts.
First thing that "hit me" is the harmonica. The playing is fine. There is a bit of "harshness" to it - maybe a bit too much high EQ? and seems loud compared to the vocal (maybe 3 dB?). That seems the case each time it comes back...
The prosody of "...my hands are caked and stained" is a bit bumpy. (You could drop the word "are" to avoid that).
The rest of the production sounds really good. Cohesive. A very "smooth" sound.
Love your vocal. Sits in the mix perfectly. Strong, with "warmth".
Cool song. The process is really intriguing. It would be cool to see the poem that it originated from (just for curiosity's sake).
There is a Neil Young-ish-ness to much of this (but "better").
I like it. A lot.