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  • Schmaltz fest...

    I mentioned in another thread I took on a wedding reception on 3 days notice last weekend. I've had time to reflect on the gig, and my prep for it and that although I have done close to 100 other wedding receptions over the years, this was only my second one as a solo, and the other one was strictly instrumental, this one I was expected to sing.
    With only two days to prep, I discovered that due to a recent sudden 'redecorating' of my man cave to convert it to an 'office' for the detective agency* my master book with all my arrangements was somehow misplaced. I spent hours looking for it, all the while also picking up all the sheets I have scattered around with pending changes, hand written notes, etc [NEVER THROW ANYTHING OUT!!!!] and I was able to piece together what I dubbed the 'schmaltz fest'. Sappy love songs, old standards...I cringed at the thought, but I knew the material was appropriate from my years doing weddings as a sub with a local big band.

    The host also asked for 'lots of Beatles songs'...so I worked those in [I would have had a few anyway]. I also had to ditch my usual smoky rasp for my round baritone...

    A sampling of what I did:
    Unchained Melody
    Only You
    Misty
    Fly Me to the Moon
    Never My Love
    Here, There and Everywhere
    And I Love Her
    I Can See Clearly Now
    What a Wonderful World
    Light My Fire
    At Last
    I Need You [Beatles]
    Blue Bayou
    Maybe I'm Amazed
    To Love Somebody
    Stand By Me
    Wonderful Tonight
    Dream [Everly Bros]
    Higher and Higher
    Can't Take My Eyes Off of You

    You get the picture...
    The host was pleased, the comments from the guests were all favorable...
    At the end of it all I felt dirty....

    I did sneak in a couple of ringers later in the evening, though...Georgia On My Mind, Summertime, Jambalaya, Eight Days a Week, American Girl

    Those are all songs in my repertoire, but I have never put all the schmaltz-y stuff together like this...anyone ever do receptions as a solo with this type of set list?

    This also convinced me I need to get a better [read: larger] tablet, an air-turn, etc...time to join the 21st century...



    *go look up the ID Channel [y'know, the one South Park called the murder-suicide channel] show 'Cry Wolfe'..that is my daughter doing all the 'computer work' and research on the show. Over the years I've done lots of odd work for the agency [research, analysis, transcription, etc.], and the latest was to 'host' the actual office. As my actual office has become the storage room/dumping ground for my entire family, it was easier to 'spruce up' the man cave...plus the owner of the agency was working out of his GFs apartment at the moment...so he wanted to claim he was renting that space from me. I'm not sure how that worked out for him, but I got a new door lock, a bottle of Jack and more work...
    Last edited by daddymack; 05-04-2018, 03:17 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

    Solipsism is the new empiricism. -Alan Burdick

  • #2
    Looks like what I'm winding up with compiling an old-fashioned-sounding list of songs from the 50s & 60s. Strangely, I spent a couple of days learning "Little Things Mean A Lot" from the list -- I *do* like it. Two of the servers (!!??) asked if they could sing while I backed them up. The second, a twenty-ish guy, asked if I could play … "Little Things Mean A Lot," which seems very odd, but who's to say. Has someone covered it lately?

    Of course, as with everything, there's superior schmaltz and there's the other stuff. Your list is actually pretty strong. Goose fat rather than chicken fat.
    There is more than one way to do this. Notes Norton

    Comment


    • daddymack
      daddymack commented
      Editing a comment
      The Kitty Kallen #1 with a bullet in 1954?

      I'm not sure 'superior schmaltz' is a good thing

    • pogo97
      pogo97 commented
      Editing a comment
      That's the one. I've changed the lyrics so that I can sing it in the third person (otherwise, it's definitely a chick song). Schmaltz is fine by me if it says something worthwhile and "Little Things…" carries a valid message, like "Try a Little Tenderness." I've tried it and it works.

  • #3
    I only cover two of these "Can't take my eyes offa you" mainly for the crowd participation of " dah da dah da dah da da" and Wonderful Tonight using a looper as the lead sounds so much more difficult than it is.
    Cheers Steve

    Comment


    • #4
      For the most part, I think schmaltz is more in the interpretation, rather than the song itself. Think Paul Williams, Don Ho, Dean Martin, and Wayne Newton.

      Comment


      • #5
        Originally posted by senorblues View Post
        For the most part, I think schmaltz is more in the interpretation, rather than the song itself. Think Paul Williams, Don Ho, Dean Martin, and Wayne Newton.
        I agree. Though the true *bad* schmatzmeisters also had a talent for choosing particularly odious songs. Arthur Godfrey comes to mind. Or is that schlock? Or just awful?

        There is more than one way to do this. Notes Norton

        Comment


        • senorblues
          senorblues commented
          Editing a comment
          I considering discussing the difference between schlock, schmaltz, kitsch, etc. then thought better of it. It's like porn - you know it when you see it. . . except a lot of folks think this stuff is just great!?
          Last edited by senorblues; 05-05-2018, 09:22 PM.

        • skmarshall
          skmarshall commented
          Editing a comment
          Odious is certainly a good word for that. Did that record sell, or get any radio play?

        • pogo97
          pogo97 commented
          Editing a comment
          Yes, it was, apparently, a pretty big hit in 1949. And it's on Columbia, not some tiny label either. Astonishing.

      • #6
        Individually I don't think your wedding list was very schmaltzy. Maybe the songs in the aggregate came off cheesy, but even still. I've seen Tony Bennett live, doing Fly Me to The Moon - it rocked. I've worked with people that did At Last, who sang it like their lives depended on it. But whatever the case, that's a great wedding list.

        Lately, I've noticed that people are less concerned about song genres than they used to be. I'll play some Steely Dan some Bob Marley and just for fun throw in Come Fly With Me, or Cheek to Cheek and I'll often get a big hand, from the same folks that liked Steve Miller. Granted I don't sing those songs like I'm on the Lawrence Welk show, but still in all, in the past I might have had complaints regarding switching musical bags. That doesn't seem to be happening as much (but see next paragraph). Last Thursday, I even did Just The Way You Are. I haven't played that tune in a couple of years, and I announced I was doing it to see if I could remember the words (which was the truth). I thought for sure, someone would yell out "learn some real songs" or something like that, but instead it got much applause. Can't figure folks out anymore.

        A couple of weeks ago, I was in a lounge with my trio, and there was a group of Millenials (sixty plus I was told) that were having a birthday party. Realizing we were old farts, they started requesting all this older material. so we did Superstition, It's Not Unusual, Stand By Me, All Night Long and so on. Near the end they requested What A Wonderful World - it brought the house down. Funny that, because a friend of mine got fired for playing What A Wonderful World. Management felt it was too lounge like. To this day, I don't play it unless requested.

        Glad your gig went well.

        Comment


        • senorblues
          senorblues commented
          Editing a comment
          A friend of yours got fired for playing a song the owner didn't like?! WOW! Last Friday, the gallery owner several times showed a keen interest in what I had just played, noticed "The Times The Are a Changin'" was on the top of the stack of lead sheets and said: "Don't play that." I obliged. He came back towards the end of the evening and apologized for telling me what not to play, but even though it was presumptive of him to assume he knew what my version would sound like, I actually appreciated him telling me about his musical prejudices. This confirms what I've been afraid of when posting music clips - that if they hear ONE song they don't like, you won't get the gig. Here's a thought - tell me what you like and don't like, and I'll make you up a list you can go over before the gig. How about that!!!

          Grrrr . . . . .
          Last edited by senorblues; 05-07-2018, 06:17 AM.

        • pogo97
          pogo97 commented
          Editing a comment
          Please, mister, please, don't play B-17
          It was our song, it was his song
          But it's o-o-over…

      • #7
        Here's an example of how the version confects schlock out of schmaltz.

        1946 schmaltz:



        1949 schlock:



        1972 tele-schlock

        Last edited by pogo97; 05-07-2018, 08:13 AM.
        There is more than one way to do this. Notes Norton

        Comment


        • #8
          Originally posted by senorblues View Post
          For the most part, I think schmaltz is more in the interpretation, rather than the song itself. Think Paul Williams, Don Ho, Dean Martin, and Wayne Newton.
          Amen to that.
          Bob "Notes" Norton
          Owner, Norton Music http://www.nortonmusic.com
          Style and Fake disks for Band-in-a-Box
          The Sophisticats http://www.s-cats.com >^. .^< >^. .^<

          Comment


          • #9
            Hmm

            Schmaltz:



            Not Schmaltz???:



            There is more than one way to do this. Notes Norton

            Comment


            • senorblues
              senorblues commented
              Editing a comment
              Both score high on the schmaltz scale for me. . . . lyrics, rhythm, arrangement, progression, changes.

            • pogo97
              pogo97 commented
              Editing a comment

          • #10
            I would like to define the boundary between schmaltz and schlock, though....
            IMHO schlock:
            Tie a Yellow Ribbon ['Round the Old Oak Tree]
            Honey [I Miss You].... [but my aim will improve...]
            "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

            Solipsism is the new empiricism. -Alan Burdick

            Comment


            • pogo97
              pogo97 commented
              Editing a comment
              "Honey" made me cry when I was twelve. "Yellow Ribbon" mostly puzzled me. But I agree: probably irredeemable schlock. I don't think a change in the arrangement would change that.

              I think of "Honey" every time I pick up a chainsaw.

              but, let's say the words "See the tree…" didn't set off a pavlovian storm of revulsion deep in your musician's soul…



              … nope, still schlock…
              Last edited by pogo97; 05-10-2018, 09:44 AM.
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