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Featuring the songs of Nick Sullivan

Demos, discussion, lyrics, sheet music

Vow Of Silence

 
 

Album:  Songs Sung Sideways

4. Vow Of Silence

The gradual fizzling out of friendships after the friends have long separated is among the sadder of life’s commonplace experiences. Easy as it is to drift out of touch with old friends at the best of times, it’s not surprising that a vow of silence — whether or not it proves sustainable — could put the easy resumption of a suspended acquaintanceship unexpectedly out of reach.

“There is as much difference between us and ourselves as between us and others.”
Michel de Montaigne, essayist (1533-1592)

The Song

“Everything has changed. It’s got kind of strange.”

Walt’s been saying that for a long time, somehow without noticing that everyone else does too. This song laments the process by which friendships slowly wither as changes accumulate in the world and in friends’ separated lives. When they reunite, it seems to suggest, there may be no connection beyond nostalgia.

Walt: I was very happy to hear that you had taken a vow of silence.

Nick: Oh, shut up.

The Music

The music comes in two alternating parts, each with its own tempo. The verse is hesitant, each phrase ending with an introspective pause over a half-cadence; but the barrel-house chorus is ebullient and cheerful, at least outwardly.

Although favored by geography, we were alas unable to secure the services of Monty Python’s “I’m a Lumberjack” RCMP troupe to join in the chorus on the recording, but one guesses they would have supplied commendable energy. Unfortunately, they were away with Walt on a photo safari to Arthurian England.

Lyrics and Chords

Verse 1

D                      A7     D

I made a vow, I made a vow of silence,

                Bm         Em

And I could not keep it at all,

           Bm          G     A9

That’s the way that it goes.

D                            A7      D

Look at me now, I’ve got the hang of silence

                        Bm          Em

’Cause that’s still the way that it goes,

       Bm            G

And it grows, and it grows,

A7

And I sing,

D                               A7

Hey, there, buddy, where’ve you been so long,

                D           A7

Our old places, they’re all gone,

    D                            A7

And hey, there, buddy, since you went away,

               G

Everything has changed,

           D             G           A7

Lately I’d say that it’s got kind of strange,

Em                     A7

Nothing I could name – more a matter of rhythm,

        Em                            

There’s things a man can’t do without,

    A7                          A9

And likewise can’t do with ’em.

Verse 2

D                         A7      D

Hello my friend, hello my boon companion,

            Bm          Em

It’s been a night and a day

       Bm              G     A9

And an age you’ve been gone.

D                            A7      D

Never again, always the boon companion,

           Bm         Em         Bm            G

It will be lonely, be lonely, be lonely if you go,

A7

And I’ll sing,

D                               A7

Hey, there, buddy, where’ve you been so long,

                D           A7

Our old places, they’re all gone,

    D                            A7

And hey, there, buddy, since you went away,

               D

Everything has changed,

    D7       G6

And it keeps changing, changing,

                   A7   Asus4  A  A6  A7

It just works that way,

         G6

It keeps changing, changing,

               A6         D    D9

‘Cause it just works that way.

 

Dmaj7  Bm  D  G  D  E7  A6

 

         G6

It keeps changing, changing,

                   A7   Asus4  A  A6  A7

It just works that way,

         G6

It keeps changing, changing,

               A6         D    D9

‘Cause it just works that way.

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