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Garibaldi Days Post-mortem...


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The Garibaldi Days gig went good. We had an appreciative audience, and the band enjoyed themselves. The top three songs were, in order, Southern Pigfish’s “For Their Own Ends,” Gene Burnett’s “Things Are Getting Better Now That Things Are Getting Worse,” and Stan Good’s “Un-Easy Street.”

The Pigfish song continues to be a surprise. People like rock ‘n’ roll, I guess. We should do more of it. One of mine we’ve never attempted is “Test Tube Baby,” a generally 12-bar blues which was an old Dodson Drifters hit, and we should try it. I think people like Gene’s song because it’s more uptempo than the average two-step—it’s just something that demands to be danced to—and it is unfailingly upbeat. Like Gene himself. Stan’s song, by contrast, we do very deliberately; people aren’t dancing to that one, they’re listening—and nodding. Every word of it hits home.

Other songs that got a good response were “Dead Things in the Shower,” “The Frog Next Door,” “Duct Tape,” “Tillamook Railroad Blues,” and of course “I’m Giving Mom a Dead Dog for Christmas.” The band likes to “rock up” all of these, and it sounds good when they do it.

I still need to work on my timing for “Bluebird on My Windshield,” “The Termite Song,” and a few others. My problem, not the band’s; the band have learned how to deal with me—they let me set the tempo with my standard first-few-bars intro, and then they follow, keeping whatever time that was. That means my timing has to be perfect at the outset. The only way I’ll get that is practice.

The other thing I need to practice is being fancier on the guitar. The band is gelling easily into a 4-piece combo, with Dick’s blues harp as the lead instrument. That means I need to make up for the absence of a lead guitar. I don’t need to go the Deke Dickerson/Buddy Holly route, and play lead and rhythm at the same time (I never liked how that sounded anyway)—but I do need to return to the tactic I used to use when I was playing solo, of including marginally fancier riffs in the spaces when I’m not singing. Again, the only way I’ll get there is practice. Practice on my own—which I don’t do enough.

A couple of notes on the sound, because we did get the sound right this time, I think. We miked my guitar rather than using the pickup; since I tend to be stock-still and deadpan anyway when singing, a stationary mike works fine. It does give the guitar a fuller sound. My singing mike for the vocals, John’s instrument mike for the guitar, one of Dick’s wireless mikes for his blues harp—and the other mounted overhead of the drums, to pick up the “treble” sounds (cymbals and snares). Everything except John’s bass was run through the PA, and we used two little amps (his and mine) for monitors. It took just about an hour to get everything set up; since John had tested everything the night before in his living room, levels didn’t have to be messed with. And people said everything sounded clear and mixed just right. We’ll use the same setup at the Museum gig next Saturday.

I could have sold one CD, but I don’t have any left—I gave every one I had to the music store in Tillamook, and I had to send the requesters there. In retrospect, that’s not bad—if they do go there. If somebody actually goes to the Tillamook music store and specifically asks for my record, that sends a message I bet the music store doesn’t often get.

Dick’s and my appearance at the “Garibaldi’s Got Talent!” show was good, too; we were easily better (and definitely more professional) than any of the other acts. Had people clapping along to the “Tillamook Railroad Blues,” too. I met the fellow with the Rockaway recording studio, too—turns out he’s the new music teacher for the school district. Got him excited about recording the next album; he understood immediately what “Patsy Cline style” meant, without explanation, and told me he’s got a big room we could do it in. I told him I wanted to hear what he’d done for other folks before I committed to anything, but he’s definitely an option—if I ever have the money, of course.

Joe

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