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  • #16
    Originally posted by guido61 View Post

    Question about "authenticity" though. How likely is it that a band playing for a Gatsby-type crowd in 1922 would be pulling out old Civil War era stuff like Stephen Foster? I guess maybe if they were jazzing it up quite a bit.
    When I go out these days, I'm not surprised to hear songs from the 1950s and 60s mixed in with more recent material. There was a big resurgence in Stephen Foster material during the ASCAP strike in the 1940s for example, so no, I'm okay with that. In fact, my reference album is "Nelson Eddy Sings the Stephen Foster Songbook" from, I'm guessing, the 1940s.

    Of course, the Gatsby crowd would be ultra-hip and the bands would be the best money could buy: not the case here, (more like geezers playing to geezers) but what can you do. They were SO hip that they were dancing to the Charleston which didn't become widely popular until 1923. So there you go.

    Originally posted by guido61 View Post

    Saving "Charleston" for the encore?
    Ready and waiting: we have more material than we need anyway, so it may get played or it may not. By the way, if someone actually ASKS for a song from after 1922 and we can perform it, we will. No sense being rude.

    daddymack: you're right! Amazing, that arithmetic stuff!
    Last edited by pogo97; 07-04-2014, 10:42 AM.
    Hi Mom!

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    • #17
      Originally posted by pogo97 View Post

      When I go out these days, I'm not surprised to hear songs from the 1950s and 60s mixed in with more recent material. There was a big resurgence in Stephen Foster material during the ASCAP strike in the 1940s for example, so no, I'm okay with that. In fact, my reference album is "Nelson Eddy Sings the Stephen Foster Songbook" from, I'm guessing, the 1940s.


      But a resurgence in the 1940s isn't evidence of a popularity in 1922. Sure, you might hear old songs mixed with new today, but which ones is completely dependent on many factors. It's very common to hear Top 40 bands today play old 60s songs like "Brown Eyed Girl". But a Top 40 band in the 80s probably wouldn't have been caught dead playing that same tune. They'd have been laughed off the stage. OTHO, "Shout" worked well in both the 80s and today for its own reasons.

      Not trying to be a dick, just pointing out that such a tight adherence to authenticity is fraught with minefields.

      But I think your setlist looks pretty solid for what you're doing. How the audience responds will be the most important thing, of course. And I'm sure they'll like the Foster tunes just fine. Very few (if any) will have any idea which decade (let alone which year or month) they were written anyway. Tell 'em Camptown Ladies was written during WWII and they'd probably believe you.
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      • #18
        Originally posted by guido61 View Post

        But a resurgence in the 1940s isn't evidence of a popularity in 1922. Sure, you might hear old songs mixed with new today, but which ones is completely dependent on many factors. It's very common to hear Top 40 bands today play old 60s songs like "Brown Eyed Girl". But a Top 40 band in the 80s probably wouldn't have been caught dead playing that same tune. They'd have been laughed off the stage. OTHO, "Shout" worked well in both the 80s and today for its own reasons.
        I think a lot of this is perception...in the 80's , B.E.G. was a staple for cover bands here [at least ones who could muster halfway decent harmonies on the shalala parts]; 'Shout' was 'rediscovered' when 'Animal House' featured it in 1978...not that it isn't a great song to begin with, but it had run its course, the 60s retro aspect of AH allowed it to come back to life.
        _"We are currently experiencing some technical difficulties due to reality fluctuations. The elves are working tirelessly to patch the correct version of reality. Activities here have been temporarily disabled since the fundamentals of mathematics, physics and reason may be incomprehensible during this indeterminant period of instability. Normal service will be restored once we are certain as to what 'normal' is."

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        • #19
          Originally posted by daddymack View Post
          I think a lot of this is perception...in the 80's , B.E.G. was a staple for cover bands here [at least ones who could muster halfway decent harmonies on the shalala parts]; 'Shout' was 'rediscovered' when 'Animal House' featured it in 1978...not that it isn't a great song to begin with, but it had run its course, the 60s retro aspect of AH allowed it to come back to life.
          Some of it is probably regional of course too. Definitely Shout came back because of AH and has remained pretty popular ever since. I personally didn't play that song in the 80s, but it would have worked. BEG? Not so much. Around here it didn't start to resurge until the 90s, IIRC. Around the time Morrison's GH CD was released. But the Buffett cover was mid-80s, so I imagine it probably resurged earlier among the beach-going crowds.

          My point being that simply because a song was written before a particular date doesn't make it appropriate for a "period/theme" gig. Especially one that is highly thematic.

          If it were me, I'd -- without question -- be doing Charleston and Sweet Georgia Brown rather than the Stephen Foster stuff for a 20s themed party because they fit the theme so much better. To me something written one or two years after an arbitrary date that fits the theme makes much more sense than stuff from 60 years earlier.

          But, obviously, it ain't my gig. Then again, the OP did ask for opinions and I gave mine. YMMV, as always.
          _________________________________________________
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          • #20
            Not to mention occasional racist overtones in some of Foster's [and his contemporaries] songs...which were easily dismissed then, not so now.
            I doubt one would find a publisher for a song called 'Dark Town Strutter's Ball', or 'Ol' Black Joe', or 'Massa's in De Cold, Cold Ground' today...
            Oddly enough, I do Sweet Georgia Brown [1925 according to Wikipedia] in a medley with Up the Lazy River [Hoagy Carmichael, 1930] [the progressions have a nice overlap], but I'm not a stickler about period correctness...these fall under what I consider pre-War [or between wars].
            Last edited by daddymack; 07-04-2014, 02:35 PM.
            _"We are currently experiencing some technical difficulties due to reality fluctuations. The elves are working tirelessly to patch the correct version of reality. Activities here have been temporarily disabled since the fundamentals of mathematics, physics and reason may be incomprehensible during this indeterminant period of instability. Normal service will be restored once we are certain as to what 'normal' is."

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            • #21
              Originally posted by daddymack View Post
              Not to mention occasional racist overtones in some of Foster's [and his contemporaries] songs...which were easily dismissed then, not so now.
              I doubt one would find a publisher for a song called 'Dark Town Strutter's Ball', or 'Ol' Black Joe', or 'Massa's in De Cold, Cold Ground' today...
              Oddly enough, I do Sweet Georgia Brown [1925 according to Wikipedia] in a medley with Up the Lazy River [Hoagy Carmichael, 1930] [the progressions have a nice overlap], but I'm not a stickler about period correctness...these fall under what I consider pre-War [or between wars].
              As you can imagine, I'm acutely aware of the race issues. I spend a lot of time thinking about it and reading about it. It no longer offends me -- it's a sad statement about who we are but there's lots of those. I love "Old Black Joe" but won't do it. Up to the 20s and beyond, the "coon song" was a genre. Novelty or uptempo songs were most often cast as "coon songs" and would be sung blackface. It's what you did.

              Sometimes it's just a formula thing and easy to fix up.

              Arthur Collins' 1899 cylinder of "Hello Ma Baby" begins with this announcement: "Coon song 'Hello Ma Baby' sung by Arthur Collins." But remove the dialect and one coon reference and it's a damn fine song. I love that it skewers the telephone for technical glitches. You could easily substitute "Skype" and barely change a word.



              Sometimes it's not so easy to fix. "Waiting for the Robert E. Lee" paints a stereotypical picture of happy stevedores who love to sing and dance and shuffle along. But it's such a great song I shrug it off and hope no one notices. So far, no one has mentioned it.

              "Dark Town Strutters Ball" is a special case. The composer, Shelton Brooks, was of mixed native and black parentage from Amherstburg Ontario at the north end of the underground railway. He moved to Detroit as a teen and had a pretty successful musical career, writing DTSB and "Some of These Days" among other songs and playing the midwest backing up such people as Ethel Waters. His witty and pointed depiction of the "ball" is legitimate and informed and from, rather than about, that society. He was a huge fan (and impersonator) of Bert Williams. Here's Brooks singing another song in a similar vein:

              Last edited by pogo97; 07-04-2014, 07:44 PM.
              Hi Mom!

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              • #22
                Wow, you learn something every day. A rock band in Australia had Darktown Strutters Ball as a single during the 70s. I had no idea that it was an oldie.

                WARNING Do not operate the Epoptic Circuits BTH1 in a naked flame or next to a sulfuric acid throwing machine.

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                • #23
                  Gig report: the cruise was a success. I suspect we could have performed Elvis for all it mattered. The 65 guests were dressed up '20s style and enjoying each others' company and a (good but not especially 1922-style) dinner. Once dinner was over, one couple actually got up dancing. To "Hello Ma Baby" of all things. Then they all moved upstairs for closing contests and stuff.

                  There were two decks and we were set up in the lower/dining deck rather than the upper/drinking deck. The organisers decided that it wasn't worth moving us up and down as different parts of the evening happened on and we were fine with that. I'd prepared a CD of ~1922 recordings to play on the deck we weren't on, but their CD player was old and wouldn't play burned CDs.

                  Boats sure are loud! I was very glad we had our new 1000 watt EV speaker! No problems there.

                  Next gig will be a little more demanding. A museum gig commemorating WWI and set in 1919, but I think we have all the material necessary and we just need to give it some polish. The gig after that is prohibition-themed so it will be set in 1933 -- easy peasy.
                  Last edited by pogo97; 07-13-2014, 11:59 AM. Reason: no
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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by pogo97 View Post
                    Here's our setlist for the Gatsby cruise. Nothing after 1922. Out of curiosity, which songs do you guys know on this list?
                    Alexander's Ragtime Band
                    For Me and My Gal
                    Bill Bailey
                    Frankie and Johnnie
                    Ballin’ the Jack
                    Beautiful Dreamer

                    Some Folks
                    Oh! Susanna
                    Old Folks At Home
                    Camptown Races

                    The Aba Daba Honeymoon
                    They Didn't Believe Me
                    I Ain't Got Nobody
                    Waiting for the Robert E Lee
                    Somebody Stole My Gal

                    I Sent My Wife to the Thousand Isles
                    Walking by the River
                    You Gotta Walk
                    Under the Double Eagle

                    Walkin' The Dog
                    Darktown Strutters Ball
                    K-K-K-Katy
                    Ain't we got fun
                    In The Good Old Summertime
                    Some Of These Days
                    Shine on, Harvest Moon

                    After You Get What You Want, You Don't Want It
                    When Father Papered the Parlour
                    I Belong to Glasgow
                    Yes! We Have No Bananas
                    You Made Me Love You
                    Chicago (That Toddlin' Town)
                    Saint Louis Blues
                    Moonlight Bay
                    I'm Just Wild About Harry
                    Hello! Ma Baby
                    Look for the Silver Lining
                    bold ones I recognized right off...

                    Sounds like aside from their equipment failure, you two had a good gig...how were the tips?
                    Last edited by daddymack; 07-13-2014, 12:10 PM.
                    _"We are currently experiencing some technical difficulties due to reality fluctuations. The elves are working tirelessly to patch the correct version of reality. Activities here have been temporarily disabled since the fundamentals of mathematics, physics and reason may be incomprehensible during this indeterminant period of instability. Normal service will be restored once we are certain as to what 'normal' is."

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by daddymack View Post

                      bold ones I recognized right off...

                      Sounds like aside from their equipment failure, you two had a good gig...how were the tips?
                      So, you recognise the vast majority right off. Good! My Aunt Verna (89) recognised and could sing all of the pre-1922 songs we sang her at the cottage. Interesting because she was born in 1924.

                      Some Folks -- Stephen Foster cheery get happy song
                      The Aba Daba Honeymoon -- probably-racist "coon" song from 1914; re-recorded by Debbie Reynolds in the 50s
                      They Didn't Believe Me -- gorgeous 1914 Jerome Kern melody to dopey words
                      I Sent My Wife to the Thousand Isles -- we're in the Thousand Islands here or I wouldn't have learned this. 1916 Al Jolson vehicle that I do as ragtime
                      Walking by the River
                      You Gotta Walk -- both of these are mine, but I was in a space/time vortex when I wrote them
                      Under the Double Eagle -- march from 1902 -- you've almost certainly heard Bill Boyd's guitar version of it -- we scat the full Sousa version.
                      the next three are comic songs
                      After You Get What You Want, You Don't Want It -- 1920 Irving Berlin rather pointed advice to one's partner
                      When Father Papered the Parlour -- music hall from 1910 -- I'll bet SusieP knows it
                      I Belong to Glasgow -- Will Fyfe music hall from 1920 excellent drunk song

                      English Canadians are famous for not tipping. We got $20 from a lovely Quebecoise. And $300 for the gig.
                      Last edited by pogo97; 07-13-2014, 05:56 PM.
                      Hi Mom!

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                      • #26
                        I could get through 10-12 from the original list, mostly because I encountered them in various music books while looking for ragtime pieces. Darktown Strutters Ball I found in a book of obscure piano rags, complete with the original sheet music illustrations- which were pretty much horrendous. I seem to remember also that song being in a 70's movie about a traveling ragtime band (not the movie about Scott Joplin). The only one I recognized from the 2nd list was Under the Double Eagle. RE Hello My Baby, didn't the frog sing that one in the classic Warner Bros cartoon (Hello my baby, hello my honey, hello my ragtime gal)? If it were not for cartoons, we in the continental US would have no culture at all, I'm afraid.

                        Glad to see you decided to be more flexible with dates! Any rule that excludes Ding Dong Daddy From Dumas is a bad rule, IMO.

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by pinkfloydcramer61 View Post
                          I could get through 10-12 from the original list, mostly because I encountered them in various music books while looking for ragtime pieces. Darktown Strutters Ball I found in a book of obscure piano rags, complete with the original sheet music illustrations- which were pretty much horrendous. I seem to remember also that song being in a 70's movie about a traveling ragtime band (not the movie about Scott Joplin). The only one I recognized from the 2nd list was Under the Double Eagle. RE Hello My Baby, didn't the frog sing that one in the classic Warner Bros cartoon (Hello my baby, hello my honey, hello my ragtime gal)? If it were not for cartoons, we in the continental US would have no culture at all, I'm afraid..
                          Yes, the frog sang the chorus of "Hello Ma Baby." I've been looking for a full-length version of that cartoon but haven't found one yet.



                          There's worse than the cover of "Darktown Strutters Ball" but it does have some issues, I suppose. . .



                          Originally posted by pinkfloydcramer61 View Post
                          Glad to see you decided to be more flexible with dates! Any rule that excludes Ding Dong Daddy From Dumas is a bad rule, IMO.
                          But I didn't become more flexible. Except for my own songs, they were all from 1922 or before -- just as if we were playing a gig in 1922. I'm considering DDDfD (1930) for the upcoming prohibition gig.

                          Last edited by pogo97; 07-13-2014, 10:32 PM.
                          Hi Mom!

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by pogo97 View Post
                            But I didn't become more flexible. Except for my own songs, they were all from 1922 or before -- just as if we were playing a gig in 1922. I'm considering DDDfD (1930) for the upcoming prohibition gig.
                            Whoops, my reading comprehension is not what it used to be, sorry.

                            BTW, if you recreated the Gatsby vibe your crowd would have felt the urge to meet up at a greasy spoon afterwards, to throw hash browns at each other (if I remember correctly from the Fitzgerald story I read during my 5 minutes as an English major). Good thing they don't have those kind of places on cruises!
                            Last edited by pinkfloydcramer61; 07-14-2014, 12:05 AM.

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by pinkfloydcramer61 View Post
                              BTW, if you recreated the Gatsby vibe your crowd would have felt the urge to meet up at a greasy spoon afterwards, to throw hash browns at each other (if I remember correctly from the Fitzgerald story I read during my 5 minutes as an English major). Good thing they don't have those kind of places on cruises!
                              Interesting. By the time we'd packed up and loaded, everybody but the crew was gone. Perhaps to a greasy spoon? Who knows. I read TGG in my teen years and don't recall much about it beyond a general ambiance of wealth and beautiful people.

                              Of course, we're ALL just wannabes. The boat cruised upriver from Brockville and around Singer Castle. That's where the real neoGatsby types would be.

                              Last edited by pogo97; 07-14-2014, 09:23 AM.
                              Hi Mom!

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                              • #30
                                Originally posted by pogo97 View Post

                                Yes, the frog sang the chorus of "Hello Ma Baby." I've been looking for a full-length version of that cartoon but haven't found one yet.


                                ask, and ye shall receive...One Froggy Evening, 1955 (Chuck Jones, of course)

                                Last edited by daddymack; 07-14-2014, 11:11 AM.
                                _"We are currently experiencing some technical difficulties due to reality fluctuations. The elves are working tirelessly to patch the correct version of reality. Activities here have been temporarily disabled since the fundamentals of mathematics, physics and reason may be incomprehensible during this indeterminant period of instability. Normal service will be restored once we are certain as to what 'normal' is."

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