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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Old Shanghai was the first “teaser” song Beck released out of his 2012 book, Song Reader. The Song Reader is basically a bound collection of old skool style sheet music, like you’d buy in the pre-radio days to play in your parlor for your friends and family. His whole idea was to release songs that were meant to be played at home by the likes of you or me, rather than by “pros in studios” and he encouraged folks to put their own versions up on YouTube or SoundCloud.
This video is one of two that sal and I recorded last Wednesday, both of which were “one take wonders.” I don’t believe I’ve done two of those in a row before, no matter how long it was between them.
It also marks the 3rd month in a row that I’ve released a video, something that I also think might be a record for me. I’m going to immediately start editing the second song so as to try and get ahead of the game before April rolls around.
While there’s still some “artifacts” in the video, due both to me still on the learning curve with my video editor, LumaFusion, and to the fact that my phone’s camera somehow being set to “focus on faces”–a setting that I can’t seem to find how to turn off–which causes weird little glitches whenever I move and the camera refocuses as the light changes–I’m relatively pleased with the editing here.
For one thing, it’s the first two camera shoot I’ve done since acquiring LumaFusion. I can do that because me and my sweetie both have the same cellphone and she loaned me hers. Editing it is a bit of a kludge in LF, but I’ve learned how to do it.
For another, it’s the first time I’ve added a sound effect since my first ever release back in 2000 (on a 4-track cassette machine!) that featured an analog door slam.
There’s only one weirdness in the recording itself. I decided to leave it in because the rest of the performance was fine. If you spot it while listening, let me know in the comments.
The mighty Snakez have played at CVC a number of times. They hire us about twice a year. For a while we’ve been cobbling together a “sound system” that consists of two street amps and a few mikes. It has worked, but not real well.
Last December I had a surprise influx of cash. One of the things I did with it was buy a nice, portable, four channel sound system (a Yamaha StagePas 600i), suitable for use by a duo act like Hobbit & Hare (my most frequently booked act). While we have a wedding gig on the books out in mid-August, until the other day, had no chance to use the sound system “in the wild.”
Since I first bought it I had thought that it would be possible to “squeeze” enough space to hook up a simple quartet. When this recent CVC gig popped up I suggested trying it. So I pulled out a Behringer Eurorack UB1202 mixer that I’d had (and used) for a number of years and added it to the mix.
We plugged the three vocal mikes into the Eurorack and then fed that submix into one of the main channels on the Yamaha. We used two of the other main channels on the Yamaha to plug in my ukulele and Thadd’s guitar. That still left us with one main channel on each unit. Hmmm…
In a room this size we usually don’t have to plug in a mike for the tuba, as it’s pretty loud acoustically. Unfortunately, the sound system jumped the level up enough that Sketch, at the other end of the band from salamandir, was having a bit of trouble hearing said tuba. Oh well. Live and learn.
Because, in the main, it was a great success.
The picture was taken by Todd, the fella in charge of events such as this. They had decided that Mardi Gras was a month long celebration and this was a Mardi Gras party. Unfortunately, the angle of the photograph only takes in the backdrop they put up for us and misses some of the Mardi Gras specific decorations they’d put up.
You’ll only be able to spot one of the speakers from the sound system, over to the right amidst the balloons. The other speaker is just to the left of Sketch and his drums. The main and sub-mixer we used are both so small that they are entirely hidden behind me. That’s a good thing. That’s why I spent the lion’s share of the unexpected cash on the Yamaha.
Happily, it turns out I made the right decision there.
Snake Suspenderz is happy to have been invited back to the Renton River Days celebration. We have a long history there, having initially played the festival way back in the dark ages when we were just a duo!
Renton River Days is an annual multi-day family festival and celebration of community pride, joining residents, businesses, organizations, and Puget Sound tourists together for a wonderful variety of events, special features for kids, arts and crafts, recreation, food, and stage entertainment at Liberty Park and Cedar River Park. This year it’s running July 21st through the 23rd.
We’ll be on the Renton Village Merchants Association Stage. This is in the Art Market Area, which is the larger of the two ball fields at Liberty Park. The stage is located just beyond the cluster of Art Market booths (hand-crafts arts and crafts booths).
The mighty Snakez are delighted to be opening this show for the fabulous Bakelite 78!
In case you don’t know Snake Suspenderz already, we’re a quartet featuring vocals, ukulele, trombone, guitar, tuba and drums. We call our music “cartoon jazz” and we play a relentlessly quirky blend of novelty songs and hits of the 1920’s and 30’s, with a generous helping of original tunes written in those styles. By turns snarky, sentimental, and exuberant, the mighty Snakez bring wildly entertaining musical fun for the whole family and then some, fulfilling our mission to provide “hot jass, hokum and novelty music — with a bite!”
Bakelite 78’s repertoire is an eclectic mix of swing, Dixieland, blues, proto-country, and cabaret, as well as a plethora of originals in hybrids of these styles. Founding member Robert Rial arrived in Chicago in 2000, eager to engage in the music he loved most: dance orchestra music/swing, country-blues, dixieland, tin pan alley, rock and American folk. Bakelite 78 preserved the music of the early 20th Century, and the band was born to keep classic crooner vocals & speak-easy jazz/lounge/cabaret alive.
In 2009, Robert departed for Seattle and Bakelite 78 was rebuilt. The new lineup of musicians includes Robert Rial on tenor banjo, six string, tenor guitar and voice, Erin Jordan on accordion and voice, Austin Quist on upright bass, Erik Reed on trumpet, Sabrina Pope on clarinet, and Steven Baz on drums.
We’re going to party like it’s 1929! Come on down!