Topic: Wretched Lives - Dark Folk Version

I was impressed with Jim Kenyon's poem "Wretched Lives" and wanted to try to do a musical version in my acoustic "folk singer" style. The lyrics are a lot darker than the type of songs I normally write and I changed them a little to match my singing style.  I really liked Phill's version that had verses ending "it's a nightmare", but I'm used to "writing to the hook" which was "wretched lives" so I went back to Jim's original version and tried to emphasize the hook/title a little more.  Being a dark song I felt it needed to start in a minor chord and then "walk down" to give the feeling of dropping into gloom.  I added four lines at the end by using two lines from Jim's 1st verse, a line of my own and ending with the first line of what Jim designated the chorus but feels like a bridge to me.

I had a little time this morning before spending New Years day watching college bowl games, so I made an attempt at doing a "scratch" recording in my "usual me and and acoustic guitar" mode. I also added a lot of reverb which I don't normally do but felt it worked for the song. 

Wretched Lives  Kenyon/Willis

intro: (2X -finger picked)

[Am] [G] [F] [E]

No [Am]demon to expose your flaws

Nor [G]savage beast with bloody claws

[F]Your worst fears fall into place

You've [E]lost it all and life's a waste

The [Am] loneliness of a silent curse

The [G]constant reminders that make things worse

You [F]don't believe but yet you know

There's no [E]one to hold, no where to go

repeat intro


[F]Such is the fate of those wretched lives

[Am]Hopelessly waiting for their ships to arrive

[F]Scared to be bold and facing cruel facts

[E]Haunted by visions of what their lives [Am]lack

repeat intro

[Am]Heading nowhere like the aimless winds that blow

[G]Searching for the comfort that only other people know

[F]Hours passing by and faith that slips away

[E]Dreading dark of night that brings a new day

[Am]Your worst fears fall into place

You've [G]lost it all and life's a waste

No [F]one is there to say goodbye

[E]Such is the fate of your wretched [Am]life

[Am] [G] [F] [E]

[E]Your wretched [Am]life

[Am] [G] [F] [E] [Am]


I want to read my own water, choose my own path, write my own songs

Re: Wretched Lives - Dark Folk Version

Ken and Jim that is an excellent collaboration   Poems can become songs and songs can become poems.     

Re: Wretched Lives - Dark Folk Version

Guitar and vocal works well and adds a new perspective to the song.     

Ask not what Chordie can do for you, but what you can do for Chordie.

Re: Wretched Lives - Dark Folk Version

Phill Williams wrote:

Guitar and vocal works well and adds a new perspective to the song.

I hope Jim doesn't mind or is offended by my making some changes to his poem. I gave him credit for the song when I downloaded to soundcloud.  To me the poem was a dark and gloomy view of life so the I tried to reflect that in the prosody I used.  Jim posted a blues version and I'm curious what perspective you approached it from. I'd love to hear both of your versions.  That's one of the things I find so interesting about song writers - we approach the craft from different angles.     

I want to read my own water, choose my own path, write my own songs

5 (edited by TIGLJK 2021-01-02 21:39:04)

Re: Wretched Lives - Dark Folk Version

I never mind when folks here on chordie change things up and I certainly wouldn't be offended.
As I have stated many times - I am only a pretend musician wink  that happens to like writing song lyrics.
My knowledge of music is quite limited in terms of how it actually works, and my playing ability is less than that.
As to my singing ability-well there is none ! smile  smile   I am a cowboy chord guy at best.
I give free license to anyone here to modify and change genre of anything I write and I appreciate all the suggestions and help the kind gents and ladies on here have offered over the past few years.   I really miss Strummerboy Bill b/c he was so unique in his assessments and amusements !
Peatle always has some great insights as well in terms of lyrics.
We are so fortunate to have a group in this forum that has such a vast array of talent and interests in different genre.
Thanks for your taking the time to put my words to music.

Cheers to all for  Happy 2021 !
Stay healthy and keep the music coming.


Your vision is not limited by what your eye can see, but what your mind can imagine.
Make your life count, and the world will be a better place because you tried.

"Use the talents you possess, for the woods would be very silent if no birds sang except only the the best." - Henry Van Dyke