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Review Of The Big Gig...


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Had a cold, of course (people told me it was a flu, and others were getting it). Lots of Vitamin C, and time in bed. A radio station announcer turned me onto an old folk remedy she uses for those “show must go on” situations—apple cider vinegar and honey in hot water. Drank it like, well, coffee, and it did help. Peppermint tea and honey at the gig, too.

Band is one of the best you’ll hear on any stage for any price, and I was proud to have ‘em playing my music. James Maille is one of the best lead guitarists I have ever met, and he brought both his acoustic and Telecaster, and alternated them for variety. Jack Fischer on bass. Darrin Wayne for starters on harmonica, and when he had to leave to tend a sick kid, George Clark filled in. With all the “rehearsal” shows the previous two weeks, they were familiar with about half the songs; it would have been nice to have practiced the other half in advance, too, but these guys are all good, and they could follow.

Real small crowd—at the best of times, it probably wasn’t more than five times as many people as the band—but they were consistently appreciative, did leave tips in the bright yellow “Tipping Is Not A City in China” bucket, and I even sold a few CDs. As promised, we did rock the house, and I hope all the participants—band and audience—tell everyone they know what a great time they had. A lot of people who said they were going to come didn’t—and, well, they missed it.

We played 27 songs (out of a planned list of 35):

Eatin’ Cornflakes from a Hubcap Blues (slow & sleazy)

The Termite Song (fast bluegrass)

Armadillo on the Interstate (slow & sleazy)

Bluebird on My Windshield (fast bluegrass)

Duct Tape (mod. fast country)

Free-Range Person (fast bluegrass)

Milepost 43 (mod. slow country)

Hey, Little Chicken (sleazy blues)

The World Enquirer (fast bluegrass)

No Good Songs About the War (slow country)

I May Write You from Jupiter (fast bluegrass)

Sam & Melinda (slow & sleazy)

She Ain’t Starvin’ Herself (standard 12-bar blues)

The Six-Legged Polka (fast bluegrass)

Born Again Barbie (mod. fast country)

Cuddle in the Darkness (slow & skleazy)

Naked Space Hamsters in Love (fast bluegrass)

Hank’s Song (mod. fast 2-step)

Dirty Deeds We Done to Sheep (rock ‘n’ roll)

Dead Things in the Shower (mod. fast country)

Writer’s Block Blues (slow & sleazy)

Prehistoric Roadkill (fast bluegrass)

Can I Have Your Car When the Rapture Comes? (slow & sleazy)

When I Jump Off the Cliff I’ll Think of You (fast bluegrass)

Bungee Jumpin’ Jesus (mod. fast country)

Meet Me at the Stairs (fast bluegrass)

I’m Giving Mom a Dead Dog for Christmas (slow & sleazy)

I tried to alternate fasties and slowsies, but had to question with a long set whether that was enough variety. Suggestion from the band was to vary styles more—though I don’t have a lot of different styles at this point; it’s true, though, that the songs that were a significant departure from the “norm” (the standard 12-bar blueses, for instance, or “Dirty Deeds,” which is rock ‘n’ roll, Johnny Cash style), got a lot more attention—and so did the “traditional country” songs that followed them. Definitely something to work on.

I do have one “traditional” rock ‘n’ roll song in the Catalog—“Test Tube Baby”—that we didn’t do because we hadn’t practiced it (and I couldn’t do a good Elvis imitation without my voice), one more blues, and a couple of waltzes (fast ones, of course), and I suppose I should ensure those are in the mix for any long set.

All in all, it was good. Couldn’t have asked for a more professional band, and I think I did as much promotion as possible, covering as many bases as possible; if in the end, people don’t show up, well, it wasn’t because I didn’t reach ‘em. Best I can hope is they’ll regret not being there, and maybe come next time, if there’s a next time.

Joe

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