Thursday, March 22, 2012

Faster, Late Joys! Learn! Learn!

How (and What) The Late Joys Are Adding to Our List of Songs for our Baker St. Pub Gig

I reckon we’ve got a good two hours of songs under our belts. And that’s great, because when we divide all that into sets it makes for a nice trio of 45-minute blasts — if you include banter, sips of “favorite beverage” and Scottie’s occasional 64-bar foray into solo-land, anyway.

The thing is, when we play the Baker Street Pub & Grill on April 5 we’re going to need a fourth 45-minute set, as the gig goes from around 9:30 p.m. until 1:45 a.m. That’s four hours of entertainment with breaks. So we have been in song-acquisition mode.

Here, then, are a few of the songs we’re working on to augment our current lot, with a little bit on why we chose them.

“Love Her Madly” by The Doors
I heard this one on a Jody Denberg-hosted Eklektikos on KUT a few weeks ago and the jaunty guitars and the blast of horns and the sweet melody had me thinking how Beatles-y this particular number is. Plus the workload is nicely divided with parts for Scottie on lead guitar, Shane on lead trumpet and there’s that nice thrashy rhythm guitar kicking things off (uh, that’d be me). It’s got a nifty dynamic that shifts from almost reggae to a Byrds/Beatles sounding transition that culminates in a typical Doors-y “under the big top” kaleidoscope of happy-sounding keys. With lyrics that make no sense but are fun to sing (thank you, Jim Morrison).

When I brought it into rehearsal later that evening Matt knew the lyrics already, so he sings the lead on this one; I try to pipe up with occasional harmonies cos it sounds nice.

“All My Loving” by The Beatles
When Patrick and I first started playing music together (cough) in 2006 (cough) one of the songs on that initial list was “All My Loving” and I cannot for the life of me remember why, except I think I had recently learned it and was (and still am) in love with that A to F#m to D to B7 bit (F, Dm, Bb, G7 if you capo it up 4, oh, ye guitarists out there); it’s like a juicy secret just sitting out in the open.

This song disappeared from the Late Joys songbook years ago, and through all our personnel changes we never returned it — or any other Beatles number — to our list of songs. Considering our Brit-Pop/British Invasion upbringing, this was scandalous. I’ve managed to squeeze it in among songs played by my acoustic-duet alter-ego outfit, The Study Session, and it works quite nicely, thank you very much. But there was never an overwhelming interest among erstwhile Late Joys to give it a whirl. At least until recently.

So I was pleased as punch when Patrick suggested we bring it back. Shane’s taken on the solo for this under-two-minute gem, which, I’m grateful to say, is not the only Fab Four number we play nowadays.

“Pulling Mussels (From The Shell)” by Squeeze
If there’s a band, and a song, that takes me back to high school, this is it. I remember buying Squeeze’s third album, Argybargy (“AR - jee BAR - jee”) because that particular single and “Another Nail For My Heart” were on it. My god, those are two amazing songs. I can almost smell the Marks and Spencer’s grey school-uniform v-neck sweater pulled over my starched white shirt and school tie when I think about either number. I can’t believe “Pulling Mussels” only placed as high as 44 on the UK charts; I remember that Top of the Pops took a shine to the song and played it a lot while it charted. Or maybe that’s wishful remembering.

I once saw Glenn Tilbrook and Chris Difford play a show in Boston as an acoustic duet and they played “Pulling Mussels.” Tilbrook took off on the solo and his fingers were just flying up and down the fret board. Amazing.

Scottie proposed this one, largely because he’d figured out Tilbrook’s tricks; and I didn’t have to go too deep into my subconscious to dredge up the lyrics — writing songs with high word counts apparently has an upside. We’re saddling Shane with the Jools Holland keyboard part, cos as we all know, trumpet and keys sound like long-lost brethren.

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I’ll weigh in next week with some more about our progress as we gear up for our Baker Street Pub shindig, to which, of course, you are most cordially invited!