Tommy Dodson

Now ensconced at the grand, see-through piano at Stacy’s Piano Bar in Palm Springs, CA, Tommy Dodson sings, “We’re Still Together”. (Link below)

More than 20 years ago, the song now known as, “We’re Still Together” was a melody without words, which Tommy Dodson already had composed at the time we were on the verge of beginning our collaboration to write original stage musicals Tommy was living in Los Angeles and performing in San Diego, where I resided and still reside. I was completely unaware of that melody. One day, Tommy faxed me the musical notation of that song, and asked if I could come up with a lyric for it.

Tommy has never admitted it, but I am sure it was a test of my musical acumen. The next day, I faxed the notation back to him with every syllable of the new lyric properly placed beneath each element of the musical notation.

Actually, that song marked a change in musical direction for me – and for Tommy, as well. Previously, at the RCA Victor Recording Studios in Mexico City, I collaborated with Armando Manzanero, and used his recordings as a guide for replacing his Spanish lyrics with my original lyrics in English. The Castro Brothers and Rubén Fuentes supplied me with musical notation on lead sheets, as did Tommy.

In Puerto Rico, the late Peter Widdicombe would write out almost print-quality of original melodies on hard notation paper. His one stipulation was that I give him lyrics only in Spanish.

The change of direction with Tommy Dodson is that – except on certain occasions, from time to time – the songs we were to write would not be individual melodies, rather integral elements of original stage musicals. After learning to write dialog, I had to develop the skill of extracting lyrics from the dialog that were cogent and contributed to a smooth continuation of the narrative.in question.

Here are the lyrics that resulted from my not-so-subtle music exam by fax.

WE’RE STILL

Sometimes the laughter helped us to survive.
It soothed the heart ache that comes when hearts break.
When there’s no answer
Not even plans certain to revive us.

Sometimes the anger kept us both alive.
It made us stronger, we held on longer.
We knew no other we might discover
Would be right for us.

So with it all sacrifice and pain
We strove to follow it through
It seemed so clear that a love so dear
Was well worth the while to renew.

Sometimes the danger could be felt inside.
It made our hearts beat as lonely hearts meet.
There’s always something, we’ve salvaged one thing.
We’re still together.

So with it all sacrifice and pain
We strove to follow it through
It seemed so clear that a love so dear
Was well worth the while to renew.

Sometimes the danger could be felt inside.
It made our hearts beat as lonely hearts meet.
There’s always something, we’ve salvaged one thing.
We’re still together.
 

Curtis W. Long

Curtis W. Long

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