May’s video is Peanut Envy’s take of the Jimmy Cox tune, Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out. This jazzy blues was written in 1923 and made its way into the “Great American Songbook” during the depression. I thought the current situation may well echo that era and, since was just released into the public domain this year, I decided to add it to the video selection as well as putting it into regular rotation on my live set list.
It tells the story of a fella who was doing just fine during Prohibition, but fell on hard times along with nearly everyone else as the Great Depression settled in.
Since I’m one of the surviving members of the Bongwater Horns, the solo for this is taken on the kazoo. This is exactly how we do it when Peanut Envy is busking.
This was actually recorded in the same session as March’s video, so the usual disclaimers re: video editing learning curve apply here.
(But I am learning. Slowly.)
Enough chatter! On to the video itself…
Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out
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So. What’s this “3rd Time’s The Charm” thing all about?
Around ten years ago I wrote a song called Daisy Fraser. Shortly after that Snake Suspenderz was playing a gig at Egan’s Ballard Jam House and we put it on the playlist. Someone in the audience recorded a video of the song. I can’t for the life of me remember who right now (maybe my sweetie?), but the video turned out horribly. It was recorded on an extremely low end camera in a venue so dimly lit that out of the four of us, only Thaddeus and I can be seen. We look more orange than the Thing from the Fantastic Four but, worst of all, I completely vapor-locked on the lyrics. That’s right, the lyrics to my own song escaped me!
But, since I’d passed off several choruses to Thadd (on trombone) and Dean (who played bass with us then and also did a hella mouth trumpet), I decided to put it online anyway. Part as an homage to them taking up the slack and part for the same reason we get blooper reels. And there it languished for awhile.
Then about 3 years back I got to thinking about it again. I’m reasonably pleased with the tune, having after all both riffed on Shakespeare and channeled a little bit of the Dixie Chicks vibe ala Goodbye Earl.
By this time I had a bit better video editing capability, but the darn thing still turned out a wee darker looking than I liked. About the only thing to say for it was it’s (I think) the first time the humbone appeared in one of my vids. It’s pottered along and gathered about 200 views. *yawn* Which brings us to now.
With LumaFusion I’ve got the best video editing capability I’ve ever had, though I’m still learning the software. The video is still somewhat dusky. *sigh* Nevertheless, here’s Daisy again, this time done like I’ve been busking it recently, on my Ohana SK-21 Sopranino with a kazoo solo.
First I go almost a year between videos, now I seem to be doubling up.
I wasn’t going to release this video for a few days, just so there’d be a video in February and then this one in March. But as I mention on YouTube, there are still some bumps in the new video making and releasing process. One of them reared its ugly head and suddenly I found that the video had been auto-announced on Twitter prior to me finishing it’s description, tagging, and such. (Gotta go in and fix that setting.)
Oh well. The actual making of the videos is getting easier. Hopefully easier will end up translating into more.
If the embedded video doesn’t work for you, you can watch us performing Jada on YouTube.
If you like this please remember that sharing is easy. Sharing is caring. Sharing makes a huge difference in an indie musician’s life.
And so soon! I tell you, we live in the age of miracles.
This is a song I wrote about 8 years ago. It’s been recorded a couple times but the only video of it — Snake Suspenderz playing the tune at a little jazz club in Ballard — is a mess. Not only was it shot with an extremely cheap camera (making the whole band look orange), but I managed to completely vapor lock on the lyrics. Brain just froze right up.
This caused me to call for lots of solos. In fact, the only reason I’ve left it online is because one of them was a great mouth trumpet solo by our then bass player, Dean Hedges.
(If the embedded video doesn’t work for you, you can click on the song title to view it on YouTube.) EDIT 9-10-2015: I accidentally deleted the video so this is a re-upload. I’ll be editing the songsheet to reflect the new link as well.
About The Humbone
Some years back my friend Captain Swing was putting a band together to play at a festival in Bonney Lake and he asked me to play washboard in it. At our first (and possibly only… the mind fades) rehearsal I noticed this two-ish foot length of brass horn with a kazoo jammed into the small end. I pointed at it and cleverly quipped, “dafuq?” He demonstrated it and I had to have one.
I asked around on the interwebs and it turns out I knew a school music teacher who had access to “a whole closet fully of trashed instruments.” For the mere price of postage he sent me a chunk of dead trombone. I hacksawed off the piece I needed, faked a stand for it from a cheap folding music stand (duct tape, the handyman’s friend), and jammed the requisite kazoo into it. It was all mine!
Then, over the next decade or thereabouts, it was used at maybe 2 or 3 gigs. The rest of the time it just took up space and collected dust. So I am very happy to unleash it on the world. All hail the Infamous Humbone, Overlord of Kazoo Excess!
Speaking Of Kazoos
A while back I wanted a wazoo. I couldn’t find one locally so I went to order it online. The price was right, but the shipping was more than the price of the wazoo!
Heck of a lot smaller and lighter than the humbone, eh? I ended up adding two basic metal kazoos to the order and the shipping felt a bit more reasonable. Can’t have too many kazoos, amirite?
When it came time to make the video I dug one of the (still brand new) metal kazoos and used it in the humbone. I screwed up the first couple takes but the third take was just bombing along. Until about halfway through the solo when the cheapo diaphragm blew out. Took the pizazz right out of the sound.
There’s a serious problem in Kazoo Kwality Kontrol.
Luckily I had bought two. The second one held up all the way through the 4th (and final) take.
Now It’s Your Turn
If you want to try the tune yourself, you can download a free pdf of the arrangement. It’s arranged for C-tuned ukulele, but other instruments will work too. Just ignore the ukulele chord diagrams and play the proper fingering for your instrument.
Hope you enjoy the video. Share it around, please!
home of Howlin' Hobbit, Ukulele Ace & recent Kalamazoo transplant