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  • #16
    Originally posted by pogo97 View Post
    So would you guys mix a number of eras and genres into one set? I have trouble making transitions from one genre/style/groove/sensibility to another without losing mojo. How can you avoid that?
    With the band, I slide around eras effortlessly, from swinging some Louis Jordan, to burning some Wolf or Muddy, to early R&B, to a slow minor blues, to 'Get on the Right Track', to a Bo Diddley-esque tune...it is far less about era, or genre than it is about the pacing within the set. You need to view them as individual songs, and not worry so much about being 'period correct'. We also intentionally avoid the 'typical' songs by Ray Charles, so the band doesn't do 'Georgia", but I do in the solo act.

    I also do "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes," but only in my solo act, not with the band, mainly because they are too lazy to learn all those changes. It is, in my opinion, the hardest song I sing...and I still sweat that half-step 'drop' to the V in the bridge every time I do it.
    "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 indeterminate period of instability. Normal service will be restored once we are certain as to what 'normal' is."

    Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally used up and worn out, shouting '...man, what a ride!'
    "The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively" ~Bob Marley

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    • #17
      Originally posted by guido61 View Post
      The reason why the Yakety Sax requester don't tip is because that's the Shuck and Jive song for sax players. They request it because it's the only 'sax' song they know and once they get you to dance for them, they're happy. It's a power trip thing for them. Maybe they'll throw a nickel at you while they laugh. Few people, if any, actually WANT to hear that song.

      It's like the people who come up to the stage and request a song and, if you don't know that one, will keep requesting songs until they finally hit on something you can play. Those people never tip well. They just want to be part of the show or just want to feel like they made you dance. They don't really want to hear a specific song and certainly don't want to pay for it.
      Interesting insight.

      I suppose it's the motivation for some. I'd think others just want to 'touch the band' in some way or feel like they are joining in the show.

      I really don't mind it though. As long as people come up with a friendly attitude (and by far most of them do), I'm happy to know what they want to hear and happy to play it for them. The tip isn't necessary, just appreciated. Actually all that is necessary is for them to enjoy themselves while they are listening to us.

      Here is a tip story. Back in the 1980s the "Theme From New York, New York" was very popular here in South Florida, perhaps because there are a lot of retired people from New York here. So we were at this dinner club and a guy comes up and gives us $5 to play "New York New York", we're happy to oblige. A few minutes later he comes up again, tells us it was great, pops another 5 in the jar and asks us to play it again. We wait what we think is an appropriate time, announce the request and play it again. It happens a third time and we wait and play it again. When he comes up the fourth time Leilani gets on the mic and says, "I have 5 dollars to play 'New York New York' again, do I hear ten not to play it?" Nobody out-bid the guy, we played it again, but he didn't come up and ask for it again. Leilani read him correctly, he didn't get angry, saw the humor in it, and stayed the rest of the night.

      Back on topic...

      I play for the audience at hand. If it's a mixed audience, I play a variety of music. If I get booked in a blues room, I'll play blues all night. If I get booked in an easy listening room, I'll be sonic wallpaper all night. Wherever I am, I'll do my best to read the crowd and use my experience to deliver what I think is the best song for that particular moment. I don't do set lists and I try to pace the audience to give them what they need, when they need it.

      Insights and incites by Notes




      Bob "Notes" Norton
      Owner, Norton Music http://www.nortonmusic.com
      Style and Fake disks for Band-in-a-Box and add on styles for Microsoft SongSmith
      The Sophisticats http://www.s-cats.com >^. .^< >^. .^<

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      • #18
        Notes, I bow to your ability to do it on the fly!
        I work with a set list, both as a solo and with the band, for one good reason: to keep it moving. When I tried to 'wing it' as a solo, I found myself spending too much time trying to pick 'just the right song' [I would never 'wing it' with the band]. With a preset list, I/we can move immediately from song to song, but it also allows me to skip or replace as I sense the mood of the room/crowd.
        This is one main reason I don't work with tracks (per se) in the solo act, because of the time to call up a song would negatively impact flow...I could stop and tell an amusing anecdote while fiddling with the tablet, but, meh...I want things quick. I'm already tapdancing somewhat with the harmonizer (I try to keep the settings changes to a minimum), and once the BeatBuddy arrives, another distraction to master...

        But I do agree that you need to pay attention to the audience. I have tossed entire sets out (I usually prep two complete extra sets just for this purpose, one more classic rock, the other more 60s pop) as well as combining sets on the fly based on how the room is reacting.
        "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 indeterminate period of instability. Normal service will be restored once we are certain as to what 'normal' is."

        Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally used up and worn out, shouting '...man, what a ride!'
        "The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively" ~Bob Marley

        Comment


        • #19
          I tried set lists, but I wasn't clairvoyant enough to know what the audience wants even 10 minutes in advance

          The first thing I do is size the audience up before the first song, especially if I'm not particularly familiar with them. I look at their hair color, hair styles, shoes, dress, the way they carry themselves, etc., and make my best guess for the first song. To play it safe, something that fits what I see but also has broad appeal. Last night they were still eating dinner when we started, so we played some 'soft rock', bossas, and light jazz first.

          I have my backing tracks on a laptop computer arranged in alphabetical order in Windows File Explorer. I click in the window, type enough letters to highlight the song and hit enter, it starts playing in Media Player. I begin most of my backing tracks with 2 measures of drums so I then immediately hit Alt+Tab and the computer's focus is back in Windows File Explorer as the track plays.

          While I'm playing, I'm watching the crowd, and from the middle of the song on, I'll notice, do they look tired? Do I think they need a faster one? Is it time for a line dance? Or whatever ... and I'll choose a song and hit the first few letters on the laptop until that song is highlighted.

          Then when the first song is done, I immediately hit enter, and the two beats of drums of the next song start with no 'dead air' -- while the drums are playing I hit Alt+Tab to get back to File Explorer and repeat as needed.

          Sometimes 2 seconds of dead air between songs can kill the dance floor, so while they are dancing, especially moderate to faster songs, it's important to keep the songs flowing with no break in between. That's where the 2 measures of drums come in, it's a count off, gives me a chance to get my hands back on my instrument, and a 2 measure drum solo doesn't kill the dance floor. Fortunately I can make my own backing tracks, so I have the luxury of my own beginnings and endings along with key, tempo, arrangement and so on.

          When the audience starts looking tired on the dance floor, I'll take a bit between songs, do some talking, and play what I call 'specialty songs'. When they are tired, nothing can keep them there (I play for adult crowds) so that's the perfect time for a pause.

          Last night we had some ballroom dancers who asked for tangos, merengues, etc.. Perfect timing, play a tango or merengue, the bulk of the crowd is sipping their drinks, and they get to watch the ballroom dancers.

          Then it's time to play something to get them back on the dance floor (usually a slow song or line dance will do it around here).

          Other specialty songs might be another ballroom dance like a cha-cha, samba or whatever, an audience request that isn't a dance number, a Happy Birthday if needed, some Reggae, Salsa, Polka, or even a showcase number we want them to listen to. Lately we've been getting good response out of Etta James' version of "Damn Your Eyes", The Viscounts version of "Harlem Nocturne" (on sax), my own Zydeco version of "Toot Toot", or the Catherine Zeta-Jones version of "All That Jazz" - the audience likes them and we always get good applause. We might also do a comedy number like "Shame And Scandal". Of course, all this depends on the audience and what they are reacting to.

          Then when they've had their little rest, it's time to tire them out again.

          There are times when I fail to call a song in time, or I make the wrong decision, but I'd say over 95% of the time it works perfectly.

          I like to play just about any type of music, and I'm there to give the audience what they want and need, even if they don't know what they want or need at any particular time. The more fun they have, the more positive feedback I get from them, and the more fun I have playing for them. It's a "Give to get" syndrome.

          Insights and incites by Notes
          Bob "Notes" Norton
          Owner, Norton Music http://www.nortonmusic.com
          Style and Fake disks for Band-in-a-Box and add on styles for Microsoft SongSmith
          The Sophisticats http://www.s-cats.com >^. .^< >^. .^<

          Comment


          • #20
            Originally posted by Notes_Norton View Post
            .... We might also do a comedy number like "Shame And Scandal"...
            Out of curiosity, wherever did you find "Shame and Scandal"?

            I wrote a paper on that song back in 1989 when I was still in school and read it at a folklore conference. It was published in the Journal of the "Canadian Society for Traditional Music." In a nutshell, the theme was a joke in the early 1900s. The theme comes up in a popular song from 1934 and a related poem by Robert Service. Then it surfaces as a Calypso in the 1940s and -- where I first heard it -- localized to Minden Ontario by country singer "Little Joe" Nicholson who took it from a record someone brought back from the Caribbean.

            Anyway, it's a song of some interest to me, so I'm curious.
            All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident. Arthur Schopenhauer (1788 - 1860)

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            • #21
              I first heard it done by a guitar player / dive master / friend in the Bahamas who did dive tours in the day and played at the Green Turtle Club at night. Then when I worked on the cruise ships I found a few cassettes with the song on it (that's how long ago I did cruise ships). Most had 3 verses, so I wrote 2 more myself. In retrospect it was probably one to many.

              I haven't seen Brendal in many, many years but I hear he is still working there.

              I believe it was done originally by Calypso Singer Sir Lancelot (Lancelot Pinard) and he even did a PG version in a movie. I saw the movie a few years ago but don't remember the title.

              I tried "Big Bamboo" but for some reason they don't go for that one as well.

              There is a Soca song by a Jamaican band, Lovindeer, "Big Panty Lady" that's very cute and I've seen it go over well when black groups play it, but like Big Bamboo, for some reason it doesn't go over as well when white groups do it. Something I accept but really don't understand.

              We do a parody version of "Winter Wonderland" that Leilani and I wrote talking about Florida things like golf, tennis, and even plastic pink flamingos on the lawn. We play this on our Tuesday gig whenever it's really, really cold and nasty up north. Since that gig is populated by either winter residents or transplants from 'up north' it goes over very well.

              We also do a parody, "What Are The Words To La Bamba" that's pretty cute.

              Insights and incites by Notes
              Bob "Notes" Norton
              Owner, Norton Music http://www.nortonmusic.com
              Style and Fake disks for Band-in-a-Box and add on styles for Microsoft SongSmith
              The Sophisticats http://www.s-cats.com >^. .^< >^. .^<

              Comment


              • #22


                Not the same plot as the "the girl is your sister" version, it seems. Odetta covered this version, which puzzled me when I was researching the song. Back then, of course, you had to depend on actual records and books to do musical research.

                The Merrymen (a white group from Barbados) did well with Big Bamboo, so you can never tell. Also "Zombie Jambouree," which is a fun Halloween song (starts at 4:40).

                All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident. Arthur Schopenhauer (1788 - 1860)

                Comment


                • #23
                  Originally posted by Notes_Norton View Post
                  I saw the movie a few years ago but don't remember the title.
                  "I Walked with a Zombie" 1943

                  I remembered this one from my years playing calypso and reggae with a West Indies based group in the 70s...
                  "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 indeterminate period of instability. Normal service will be restored once we are certain as to what 'normal' is."

                  Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally used up and worn out, shouting '...man, what a ride!'
                  "The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively" ~Bob Marley

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Originally posted by daddymack View Post

                    "I Walked with a Zombie" 1943
                    <...>
                    I googled that title - and yes - that's the one.

                    Thanks

                    BTW, I don't think it will ever make it to anyone's "best of" list
                    Last edited by Notes_Norton; 09-02-2014, 01:18 PM.
                    Bob "Notes" Norton
                    Owner, Norton Music http://www.nortonmusic.com
                    Style and Fake disks for Band-in-a-Box and add on styles for Microsoft SongSmith
                    The Sophisticats http://www.s-cats.com >^. .^< >^. .^<

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      sure...10 best of the bad Zombie films of 1943...
                      "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 indeterminate period of instability. Normal service will be restored once we are certain as to what 'normal' is."

                      Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally used up and worn out, shouting '...man, what a ride!'
                      "The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively" ~Bob Marley

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        anyone know of a zombie film that included "The Hokey Pokey"?

                        All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident. Arthur Schopenhauer (1788 - 1860)

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                        • #27
                          you leave a right foot in...oh, no, that would be leper colony version...
                          Last edited by daddymack; 09-03-2014, 05:32 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 indeterminate period of instability. Normal service will be restored once we are certain as to what 'normal' is."

                          Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally used up and worn out, shouting '...man, what a ride!'
                          "The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively" ~Bob Marley

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            And what if the Hoke Pokey is what it's all about?
                            Last edited by Notes_Norton; 09-04-2014, 04:46 PM.
                            Bob "Notes" Norton
                            Owner, Norton Music http://www.nortonmusic.com
                            Style and Fake disks for Band-in-a-Box and add on styles for Microsoft SongSmith
                            The Sophisticats http://www.s-cats.com >^. .^< >^. .^<

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              Originally posted by Notes_Norton View Post
                              And what if the Hoke Pokey is what it's all about?
                              Last edited by guido61; 09-04-2014, 05:22 PM.
                              _________________________________________________
                              Appears the singers biggest problem is pitch and to much lesser degree his tone or phrasing. --- chord123

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                              • #30
                                Originally posted by Notes_Norton View Post
                                And what if the Hoke Pokey is what it's all about?
                                sorry but . . .

                                All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident. Arthur Schopenhauer (1788 - 1860)

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