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A Job? And "rubber Dolly"...


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Well. Got asked today what salary I’d accept for that interim city administrator job. Something might actually happen there. I’m trying not to be too hopeful about my prospects, but I have rehearsed how I’d go about the job if I got it. It is a performance, after all (that’s why I refer to these jobs as gigs); Ronald Reagan once called the Presidency “my greatest role†for the same reason.

I am fond of saying “I know people,†but as fellow songwriter and publisher Bobbie Gallup points out, “it’s not whom you know—it’s who knows you.†Had to find a wireless mike and a podium for Sen. Merkley’s appearance tomorrow at the Arts Center, and with some people’s help, I managed to locate and borrow both. The Garibaldi Lions Club has a podium, and Carol Ackerman had the wireless mikes (two of them) and transmitter. And I’ve baked cookies; I don’t know what the Senator is used to in his other public appearances, but if you’re doing a show at the Arts Center, there will be cookies (made by me), there will be coffee (made by somebody), and we will videotape the event, whatever it is. It is How We Roll.

Nine in the square dance caller class, enough for a square of dancers (to practice on) with one student left over to be caller, on a rotating basis. Instructor Daryl also does a very intense 5-day “caller camp†in the summer, and it’d be fun to go to that, but I expect to be up against the traditional time-vs.-money problem. If I have the time, I will not have the money, and if I have the money, it means I have a job again and won’t have the time. Instead, I’ll get as much as I can out of the weekly sessions—they cost me only ten bucks, a meal, and five hours’ round trip in the truck to way-the-far-side-of-Portland.

Daryl said we should all have a couple of “singing calls†practiced, for the times when we’re at other groups’ dances and we’re summoned up on stage to “do a tip†(I have seen that happen a lot). Singing calls, where you’re singing part of a (theoretically) popular song, and partly calling out moves along with the music, have 64 beats repeated seven times—most country music songs are, or can be, like that. The seven times gives you an “opener,†two “movements†by the “head†pair of couples, a break, two movements by the other (“sideâ€) couples, and a closing. The opener, break, and closing are where the caller gets to sing part of the song—because the dancers are doing a move that will take time to complete.

So you need songs where you can skip more than half the words and it’ll still make sense. (There are quite a few modern country music songs like that.) One I know and can sing that’d be fun to do—not least because it’d be unexpected—is an old song, “Rubber Dolly,†by Woody Guthrie, which became something of a rock ‘n’ roll cult classic in the 1950s. It’s got a great beat, and very, very simple and repetitive lyrics—I think this was one of the songs Woody wrote for his daughter when she was young (he had quite a few of those). I’d probably have to record it myself; I doubt it’s in the square dance callers’ database (and I don’t really want to buy any of their stuff anyway—those things cost seven bucks a song), and I doubt there are any karaoke versions of it available, either. But hey, I have the ability to record stuff, don’t I?

Music Thursday night in Wheeler, Friday night in Garibaldi, and Sunday night at the Rapture Room in Nehalem. Next week: caller class Tuesday, audition for the Hoffman Center Talent Show Wednesday. And will I have to fit an out-of-town job interview into all this, too? I may finish that Gospel song yet…

Joe

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