music morsels scott turner October 2006 


Do It or Lose It

Scott Turner
For years, I've told writers to always put their names and addresses on every submission and I mean the actual cassette or CD, not just the lyric sheets. And finally, it happened to me. I get anywhere from 35-50 tapes and CDs per day, and sometimes the packages get separated from the CDs...or the lyric sheets get stuck to the self-seal envelopes and are disposed of so I was listening to an absolutely competitive song and there was no info on the CD. I frantically searched for the cover letter or lyric sheet, but they were gone..why? Well, my condo is cluttered enough with thousands of LPs, CDs, tapes, guitars and a heard of memorabilia so I don't need 50 or 100 envelopes from submissions so out they go. I checked BMI and ASCAP, but they had no record of the song or the writer. I hope the writer contacts me and asks if I received his song. Also, there wasn't an SASE in the package he or she sent so until they contact me, we both lose.

It's also nice to be able to read the cover letter to determine if the sender wants me to listen to the song, the artist or both as some submissions come in with no info whatsoever and some of the demos are ultra-competitive. I can usually hear if it's a Nashville produced demo only because I know most of the singers, etc. from Nashville song services, but some from other areas are excellent as well.

It happened to me once before in the mid-sixties. I had just moved into a new, bigger office at Liberty Records and a pile of demos were left there by the prior occupant. So I listened to them and found a jewel of a song for Slim Whitman titled "One Dream". There was no info on the demo, but I suggested to Slim that we should record it (which we did) and research it later. Those  were the days when I commuted to Nashville from L.A. and Bill Denny, the owner of Cedarwood Publishing, was kind enough to provide me office space. I was playing the session for Bill when the door burst open and Bobby Sykes (a Cedarwood writer and back-up singer for Marty Robbins) said, "You cut my song!!!" It was "One Dream". What a relief, but the funny part is that Bill Denny didn't even know the song was in his legendary company. With over 10,000 copyrights from some of Nashville's greater writers (Mel Tillis was one of them), how was Bill to know about "One Dream", an unrecorded song until I did it on Slim? Bobby Sykes (now deceased) told me he had sent it to Liberty Records for Julie London, but I'm glad I listened to it because it turned out to be a great cut.

In closing, put ALL of the info on the CD and/or tape because I swear we're not mindreaders or psychics.
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