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Practice (&c.)...


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Band practice Saturday night. Of mine, we did “Duct Tape,†“Cuddle in the Darkness,†“The Abomination Two-Step,†Odd Vindstad’s “Simple Questions†and “Pole Dancing for Jesus.†A set of three jigs from Jane, plus a pair of Irish tunes she and Ken are used to doing together, plus everybody’s favorite, “The Swallowtail Jig.†Bass player Clint wants to do “Muskrat Ramble,†an old jazz tune, and he can do a decent job on the old traditional “Long Black Veil.†Ken’s got at least “Dream†(the old jazz number) and David Wilcox’s “Rusty Old American Dream.â€

We do sound good together. I was told I could tell the 2nd Street Market we’d be ready about five weeks from now. We’ll need 20 songs to fill a 2-hour set.

The suggestion was made that Ken, who has a tremendous singing voice, should sing some of my “sweeter†songs. I’d love it if he would. I don’t know if he’s interested, and I’ll let others press; I’m not going to. I’ve generally preferred authors’ renditions of their own songs, even where they’ve been covered by more famous people—I think the author brings something undefined but special to the performance that the “coverer†can’t—but I’d happily not apply the rule to myself; with my limited voice range, I’m not bringing much to the table. (Bob Dylan was in much the same boat. Almost anybody could sing a Dylan song better than Dylan could.)

Setlist assemblage is easier if there are more lead vocalists, and in this case we’ve got four (counting Jane’s fiddle as a “voiceâ€). When I’m doing setlists for a solo concert, I concentrate mostly on alternating fast and slow songs; the goal is to have every song sound different from the one before it. Here, I’ve got multiple ways for us to sound different—we’ve got different keys, different genres and different singers, as well as different speeds.

The Modest Proposal soliciting entertainers for Garibaldi Days, the Rocktoberfest, and Relay for Life went out to Roger MacDonald, Michael and Sedona, the LaTorres Jim Loughrie, Skip Farmer, and Loren and Judy (the Crazed Weasels) in addition to those who’d already got one. We’ll see.

Heard the best rendition ever of “Invitation to St. Patrick†at the Rapture Room. Fiddle, trumpet and Cajun squeezebox leads (among others) and Michael and Sedona in the background chanting “St. Paddy! Go, St. Paddy!†in a Beach Boys-style counterpoint. Wish it could have been recorded. Only a couple more opportunities to play the song this year—St. Patrick’s Day is Saturday. I will get to play it at the Tsunami in Wheeler Thursday night, and hopefully at Jim’s jam session in Tillamook Friday night. And it’s on the setlist for the Thirsty Lion March 27.

Does beg the question what I should be releasing for the initial offering of the Song-a-Month Experiment. I don’t have anything yet, really. I’m not happy enough with the Influence Music Hall solo recordings, and I don’t want to use any of my Tascam recordings—I want this to be professional stuff.

Perhaps the 2007 recording of “Oil in the Cornfield, a 1976-vintage song I entered in the Woody Guthrie Song Contest that year (last year they ever had the contest, I think). It didn’t win any of the top three slots (so I didn’t get to go to Moore, Oklahoma, Woody’s hometown, and perform it on stage), but it did get honorable mention—and I got the impression it was the first time anybody not from Oklahoma ever got an award in the contest. Vic “Mississippi Spud†Bonner did the recording, with him playing lead and bass, and Vikki Flawith doing piano and backup vocals. I could use that one. It’d be timel, after a fashion—Woody Guthrie would have been celebrating his birthday this month, if he were still alive. April 1 release date? I will need another professional-quality recording one month later.

Joe

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