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why oh why do you learn the songs you do do do

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  • why oh why do you learn the songs you do do do

    I just listened to a song that I immediately loved. But I won't learn it because it's 'way outside "what I do."

    That got me thinking about why I DO learn certain songs and not others. Some of it is some variant of "I like it" but some is "my partner wants to sing it." A song can be silly if it's cute or it really swings or it's just fun to play. When I think about it, I don't have much tolerance for weak tunes or chords. I like it if the song suggests a novel way to present it as a duet. I like something that can be well-presented but I don't worry much about what the audience "would want." I assume my audience will like more-or-less what I like and that many grew up listening to these songs (fewer every year) and that's good enough. But that means I tend to stay inside the "old pop" or "standards" idiom with occasionally some ancient R&B or hillbilly or western added to the mix. I'm happy with that and I'll never exhaust it. 

    How about you?

    Hi Mom!

  • #2

    Most of my stuff is in the Jazz, Blues, Soul and R&B bag, with some Pop and Rock thrown in for the pub gigs, but I've been playing this tune by Jack Teagarden lately. Although it's been a favourite of mine for decades, I just didn't feel like it fit my usual bag. But after a month so of playing it, I've kind of made it mine. I even do the key change for the solo bit. People are starting to clap after it, so hopefully I'm getting a handle on it.


    • pogo97
      pogo97 commented
      Editing a comment

      Nice song! I'll have to spend some time on Jack Teagarden. I've heard him lots on trombone and singing some odds and ends with Louis Armstrong but have never sat down and listened to a bunch of him. 

      I'll queue him up after a Carmen McRae album I downloaded yesterday. I'm learning "I'm Glad there is You" because Diane suggested it. I'd heard it before but I guess never really listened. An absolute delight to play on the piano.

      I've listened to a bunch of versions but I've developed a passion for Carmen McRae lately. Plus she does the verse.

  • #3

    We just added this in the rock trio.  Lead guitar, keys and bass loop the drums.   The band leader does it in the power duo show too.   The keys really hop it up a ton.  You have the piano part and can do the horns.  we do it because we can.  The songwriter band does a lot of really off the wall stuff because most people have never heard those songs. 

    <div class="signaturecontainer">&quot;you mess with him and you mess with the whole trailer park&quot;</div><br>


    • Notes_Norton
      Notes_Norton commented
      Editing a comment

      I'm lucky enough to play a variety of music, Rock n Roll, Disco, Big Band Swing, Jazz, Country & Western, Rhythm & Blues, Mambo, Merengue, Samba, Calypso, Soca, Reggae, Beach Music, Motown Music, Classic Oldies, Mew Age, Smooth Jazz, Do Wop, Hip Hop, Bubble Gum, Broadway and One Opera Song.

      We mostly learn what is requested by our various audiences. The songs that get requested most frequently will get worked up first, as long as they fulfill these two requirements (1) it is something that we can cover - we are versatile but have our limitations (2) they fit into the "everyman's" music category. When playing MOR or "everybody's music" there is line you can cross and end up playing "nobody's music" by offending members of a mixed audience. Of course, this requires a judgment call based on our experience, and there is a chance that we will make a bad call.

      That takes care of most of the songs we learn. Every once in a while we learn a song just because we think it would be a lot of fun to play. It has to be one that will not alienate part of our audience. 

      We have over 500 songs in our book. Some we play almost every gig, others get pulled out rarely. The songs we play almost every gig are the most popular ones, the ones that reach the biggest share of our audience, and the ones that get the most positive reaction. And each has it's life cycle. Some songs that filled the dance floor a few years ago don't work anymore and seldom get played. Others come to replace it, and others have a life span of decades.

      Insights and incites by Notes

  • #4
    I'm not too scientific. If I hear something, and I like it, and I think it would work, I try it. See how it feels, give it a run or two with an audience and see how they react to it. If it's good I usually know, but sometimes the audience likes things better than I do. It surely never works the other way around.
    <div class="signaturecontainer">Free prog-related metal from Michigan.<br />
    <br />
    <a href="http://www.silentlapse.com" target="_blank">http://www.silentlapse.com</a></div>