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We here at FRED are true lovers of music, in all its forms. We’re also quite keen on the spirit of competition, and of spurring creativity through said competition.

To that end, we launched a unique form of creative combat here at the Stop.

In this age of manufactured and painfully earnest talent contests, we’ve decided to instead shine a light on the quirky, quixotic underworld of musicians that don’t get nearly the attention they deserve.

Ah, but I did mention that there was a competition involved…

Like a songwriting version of Iron Chef, the competitors will be presented with a very specific songwriting challenge. They’ll be given one week to complete their songs - however they see fit, within the parameters set forth - after which time the entries will be uploaded to Quick Stop to be voted on by you, the audience.

Oh, and what do we call this competition?



Let us not forget the very special Masters of MASTERS OF SONG FU. Think of them as the iron chefs of Song Fu - one of which will be revealed as your ultimate challenger in THE FINAL CHALLENGE. Past Masters have included Jonathan Coulton, Paul & Storm, Neil Innes, The RiffTones, and Garfunkel & Oates. Any one of them could be your final Challenge - or perhaps it could be a brand new Master. Only the Challenger who garners the most cumulative votes in all of the Challenges will move on to the Final and face that Master, mano a mano.

So what was the 1st Challenge?



This is a bit of a fun one. Your first task is based upon the work of Friend-of-the-Stop John Hodgman - specifically, the “700 MOLE MEN” listed in his second book, More Information Than You Require. You’ll find the full list of “700 Mole Men” - and their descriptions - HERE. Your task is to choose one (1) and write a song about that Mole Man, based on the description provided by Hodgman. The title of your song will be the name of the Mole Man you’ve chosen, and its corresponding number on the list. You are free to write your song in any style that you choose.

That’s it. The only other directive is that your song must run no shorter than 1 minute.


You’ll find the Round 1 songs from each of our Challengers below, as well as the results of the Round 1 voting (As some competitors did not make their Round 2 submission in time, you’ll find those missing songs in the ROUND 1 ZIP FILE, which you can download below).

So what was the 2nd Challenge?



Write a song about a number.

That’s right - a song about a number. It can be any number, and it can be describing or representing anything. The number you choose will be the title of your song. The song can be in any style you’d like. Your song must run no shorter than 1 minute.

If you want some inspiration, here’s a number song from Harry Nilsson


So what was the 3rd Challenge?



Write a winter holiday song that is not about the holidays.

Your song can reference the holidays, but must not be explicitly about them. However, it should incorporate instruments and/or a style that evokes the holidays. Your song must run no shorter than 1 minute 30 seconds.

If you want some inspiration, here’s a song from Jona Lewie, “Stop The Cavalry”


And now, the big announcement. Due to holiday scheduling issues, the Master for this edition of Song Fu was not able to compete. Therefore, the Challenger with the most votes has been declared the winner, and has become a Master of Song Fu - joining past Challengers Molly Lewis and Berg & Jerry. Despite not getting a go at a Master, our winner decided to do a Final Round song anyway - and you’ll find that below, preceeded by some comments about the song in question, straight from the newly-minted Master, who has won not only the remarkable (and potentially off-putting) bragging rights and a clutch of fantastic mystery prizes, but has also become the proud owner of the magnificent, one-of-a-kind MASTER OF SONG FU TROPHY.



I’m Joe Covenant. I’m Scottish. And never have enough time to do everything I wanna! Been singing and perfoming for over 40 years… (yes, I am 46.)… and I’ve nearly learned a 6th chord! Everything I do. I do for Song Fu. (If not for this ‘contest’ I would have never met and collaborated with so many talented people.)

When thinking of what to do as a final song, I thought back to my first real Song Fu challenge - “Write a Happy Song” - and, as this win had a hint of bittersweetnes about it, I thought I would flip that first challenge around and “Write a Sad Song”…

…this is it. Thanks to Ken for the Fu, and to all the regs at TooMuchAwesome for inspiration!

Official Website: joecovenant.bandcamp.com
Twitter: twitter.com/JoeCovenant

ROUND 1 SONG:#297 Mr. Tom Furby


ROUND 3 SONG:Ghoul Tide

FINAL SONG:Life is Hard (… then you die)


To download a ZIP FILE containing all of the ROUND 3 songs, CLICK HERE.

To download a ZIP FILE containing all of the ROUND 2 songs, CLICK HERE.

To download a ZIP FILE containing all of the ROUND 1 songs, CLICK HERE.





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16 Responses to “Masters Of Song Fu #5: The Winner Revealed!”

  1. Russ Rogers (of Godz Poodlz) Says:

    Congratulations to Joe! He pwned the vote in each of the three preliminary rounds. He’s a good songwriter, able to craft memorable tunes with clever lyrics. I’m proud to have him represent the Fu.

    Godz Poodlz is looking forward to Song Fu #6. Any clue when that might begin?

    What do people think of a ONE Song, Annual Battle of the Champions Song Fu Challenge? Make it a Showcase, rather than a vote, like the Holiday Song Fu Showcase from about a year ago.

    Send the challenge out to all the Winning Masters and Challengers. Right now, that would be Jonathan Coulton, Jeff MacDougall, The RiffTones, Jason Morris, Paul and Storm, Molly Lewis, Berg and Jerry and Joe Covenant. A Clash of Titans!

    Since it’s a Showcase and not a Competition, Ken Plume could give the challenge some extra time, say two weeks or a month. Publish the challenge and maybe even publish shadow (unofficial) entries from the masses along with whatever came back from the League of Champions.

    Ken could use the event to promote Song Fu in general or to promote some charitable event like Red Nose Day. This could even bridge an interim gap between Song Fu competitions, maybe between Song Fu #6 and #7?

    There is a Masters of Song Fu Group on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=99943309099

    Quite a few Song Fu regulars, including our new Master of Song Fu, Joe Covenant, are members of the Online Web Community, “Too Much Awesome.” If you are a songwriter or just a Fan of the Fu, check out http://toomuchawesome.org

    As always, thanks to our Grand Fu-bah, Ken Plume, and A Site Called Fred for hosting the Song Fu fun!

  2. Joe 'Covenant' Lamb Says:

    Thanks Ken!
    Onwards and Upwards!

    Many, MANY thanks to all those wonderfully groovy people of indeterminate tastes who voted for me!

  3. Hazen of Quiet Desperation Says:

    Congratulations, Joe. You’ve earned all the praise you’ve received.

  4. Dave Leigh Says:

    All hail his Royal Fu-ness, most excellent Master of Song Fu, Joe “Covenant” Lamb! Long may he reign, until next time!

  5. Spintown Says:

    Joe even though this is the 2nd Fu in a row to end badly, you’re a deserving champ. I can’t think of anyone who has more Fu than you, and you’re the type of person this competition is about. Props on the victory, and bravo on the final song of SF5.

  6. Wilson Says:

    Congrats to Joe!

  7. Berg Says:

    Congrats Joe!!!

    Sorry your few didn’t have a clear ending ether.

  8. Kylie Petto Says:

    Congrats Joe! You definitely earned the win!

  9. Leigh Says:

    Way to go, Joe! (hey, I made a rhyme! :))

  10. Denise Hudson Says:

    Yay Joe! You know I’m your fan :)

  11. UncaScroogeMcD Says:

    Riddle - Your concerns and criticisms *have been* noted. The tone is unfortunate.

  12. riddle Says:

    the way this website is run is “unfortunate.”

  13. Joe 'Covenant' Lamb Says:

    Riddle- You have NO idea of the problems Ken went through for this- not one!
    And as you have also never participated IN the contest, but felt compelled to lambast others efforts from the sidelines, well…
    You don’t like it? YOU make it better.
    Its easy for anyone to attack something, it takes a lot more naus to improve them.

  14. riddle Says:

    sorry to tarnish your medal, Joe. i do think the characterization of me ‘lambasting’ anyone is an overstatement. i’ve only ever tried to give constructive, if honest, criticism here.
    btw, i’d LOVE to make it better, but every one of my suggestions has been responded to in the same way by the ‘martyr’ Ken: not at all. and if i have ‘no idea’ of his sacrifices, it’s because he constantly leaves the meager fan base completely in the dark as to what the f is going on.

  15. Joe 'Covenant' Lamb Says:

    riddle… (Your half informed comments aside…)

    Tarnish my medal?
    Meagre fan base?

    Now you’re insulting the actual visitors and voters too?
    I think I’m done with this conversation.

    If you don’t like the way things are done, or run, here… Well, we can’t force you to stay.
    Shame- Cos most of the people in here are truly amazing people. Im proud to call them friends.

  16. Edric Haleen Says:



    Don’t really know what exactly to post to you. So perhaps I’ll simply share one particular thought, and leave it at that.

    For a number of reasons, I sincerely hope that you do join us for Song Fu Six. No one’s saying that there aren’t aspects of the experience that are frustrating at times. But as someone who’s now been a part of four iterations of Song Fu, I can tell you that the positive aspects of participating in this little Internet jewel FAR outweigh any relatively minor annoyances. In particular — the support and camaraderie of the community of artists and music-lovers that is growing around this “competition” makes “taking the plunge” well worth while.

    Frankly, I would feel disappointed — and, in a strange way, even slightly “let down” — if Song Fu Six began and we all came to learn that you had decided not to sign on as a Challenger. You are, of course, free to make your own choices. But I’ve been interested in hearing what you have to offer for a good long time, now — I was sad that you didn’t “tune back in” to QSE in time to get signed up for Song Fu FIVE! And while I know that you’ve composed “shadow” entries on your own for the various rounds of MoSF #5 — as far as I know, no one here has HEARD them! (Although you did post lyrics for one of them.)

    Song Fu becomes a whole new experience when you’re one of the Challengers. I fervently hope that you do choose to “have a go at it” when Ken posts the sign-up page. I can understand you harboring feelings of frustration — we all can. But — and this may be unfair — I feel I’d lose a lot of respect for you if you let such feelings keep you from finally joining in on the fun…

    ‘Nuff said. You’ll do what you choose to do. (As you should.)



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