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13 October 2015

Traditional Jazz: Tunes with More Than One Title

It is surprising how many tunes in the traditional jazz repertoire have with the passage of time acquired more than one title. There must have been various reasons for this, one of which was that a later performer wanted to disguise the fact that he was plagiarising a tune from an earlier band. But I am sure there were other reasons too, that had more to do with mere memory loss.

Here are over fifty examples. Maybe you can send me some more?

Algiers Strut is also known as You're all I Want for Christmas

Astoria Strut is also known as Climax Rag

Atlanta Blues (final strain) is also known as Make Me a Pallet on the Floor

Barnyard Blues is also known as Livery Stable Blues

Black Bottom Stomp is also known as Queen of Spades

Blame it on the Blues is also known as Quincy Street Stomp

Bluebells Goodbye is also known as Bright Eyes Goodbye

Bogalusa Strut is a re-interpretation of the first two strains of Scott Joplin's Rose Leaf Rag

Bugle Boy March is also known as American Soldier

California Blues is also known as Blue Yodel No. 4

Can I Sleep in Your Arms Tonight, Lady? is the same tune as Red River Valley and is the same tune as We Shall Walk Through the Streets of the City

Chant of the Tuxedos is virtually the same as Ol' Man Mose

Chicago Breakdown is the same as Stratford Hunch

Chimes Blues is also known as Mournful Serenade

Creole Love Call is basically the middle theme from Camp Meeting Blues

Creole Song is also known as L'Autre Can Can and is also known as Madame Pedoux

Dauphine Street Blues (first strain) is also known as Nobody Knows the Way I Feel This Morning

Deep Bayou Blues is also known as The Three Sixes

Dippermouth Blues was re-created by the Fletcher Henderson Orchestra as Sugarfoot Stomp

Do Lord (tune) is also known as It Takes a Worried Man to Sing a Worried Song

Don't Go 'Way, Nobody (tune) is also known as  How Come You Do Me Like You Do Do Do? and  is also known as Everybody's Talking About Sammy and  is also known as I'm a Ding Dong Daddy from Dumas and  is also known as If It Don't Fit, Don't Force It

Don't You Feel My Leg is also known as Don't Make Me High

Down Home Rag is also known as Black Rag

Duke's Place is also known as C-Jam Blues

Fidgety Feet is also known as War Clouds

Frogimore Rag (trio) is also known as Sweetheart of Mine

Frosty Morning Blues is also known as Lost Your Man Blues

The Eyes of Texas (tune) is also known as I've Been Working on the Railroad

Garbage Man Blues is also known as Call of the Freaks and is also known as New Call of the Freaks 

Get a Working Man is identical to Pinchbacks, Take 'Em Away (and the chorus is harmonically the same as It's a Long Way to Tipperary)

Golden Leaf Strut is also known as Milenberg Joys

Good Time Flat Blues is also known as Farewell to Storyville

Hesitating Blues is also known as How Long, How Long Blues

Hiawatha Rag  is also known as A Summer Idyll

San Jacinto Stomp is also known as I Can't Escape from You and is also known as In the Groove and  is also known as I Don't Mean Maybe

I Hope Gabriel Likes My Music is also known as I Hope You Like My Music

In The Highways (I'll Be Somewhere Working for My Lord) is pretty much the same as Down By The Riverside

In The Sweet By and By is also known as The Preacher and the Slave

Joe Avery's Piece is also known as Victory Walk

La Harpe Street Blues (theme) is also known as We Sure Do Need Him Now

Lily of the Valley is also known as Everybody Ought To Know and was possibly plagiarized from the final theme of Red Onion Drag

London Blues is also known as Shoe Shiner's Drag

Lotus Blossom is also known as Sweet Lotus Blossom

Loveless Love is also known as Careless Love

Love Me Tender is also known as Aura Lee

Martha is also known as Mazie

Memphis Blues is also known as Mr. Crump

Milneberg Joys is usually mis-spelt Milenberg Joys [The New Orleans suburb took its name from Scotsman Alexander Milne]

Midnight Mama - see under Tom Cat Blues

Mississippi Wobble is also known as Quality Shout

Montmartre is also known as Django's Jump

Mood Indigo is also known as Dreamy Blues

Moonlight and Roses is actually Lemare's 'Andantino'

New Orleans Bump is also known as Monrovia

Old Stack o'Lee Blues (not Stack o'Lee Blues) is virtually identical to Faraway Blues

Oriental Jazz was called Soudan by its original composer

The 1919 March is also known as The Rifle Rangers

China Boy is also known as Pacific Rim Stomp

Poor Old Joe is also known as Old Black Joe

Lazy Luke (composed in 1905 by George J. Philpot) was misleadingly renamed Red Flannel Rag by Turk Murphy when he recorded it many years later

Moanful Blues is actually Some Day Sweetheart

My Good Man Sam is virtually identical to Doctor Jazz

After You've Gone (1917) seems to have plagiarized Peg o' My Heart (1913)

Riverboat Shuffle was originally Free Wheeling

Riverside Blues is also known as Dixieland Shuffle

Root Hog or Die is virtually the same as Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen

The final theme of Royal Garden Blues is also the main theme of Georgia Bo Bo

Savoyager's Stomp is also known as Muskrat Ramble

Sidewalk Blues is also known as Fishtail Blues

Silver Bell (second theme) is also known as Sometimes My Burden's Too Hard to Bear

Si Tu Vois Ma Mère is also known as Lonesome

Soap Suds is also known as Fickle Fay Creep

South is also known as Pork Chop

Storyville Blues is also known as Those Drafting Blues  and is also known as Bienville Blues

Gully Low Blues is also known as S.O.L. Blues

Original Dixieland One-Step (final strain) is also known as That Teasing Rag

Take My Hand, Precious Lord is the same tune as Maitland

Tar Paper Stomp is also known as Hot and Anxious (one theme) and is also known as In The Mood

The Midnight Special is also known as Shine a Light on Me

Till Times Get Better and Smokehouse Blues are almost identical to Up a Lazy River

Ting-a-ling is also known as Waltz of the Bells

Tom Cat Blues is also known as Midnight Mama (or Midnight Papa) and is also known as Nobody Knows The Way I Feel This Morning LINKED TO Winin' Boy Blues

Two Nineteen Blues is also known as Mamie's Blues

Uptown Bumps (final theme) is also known as The Bucket's Got a Hole in It

Viper Mad is also known as Pleasure Mad

Washington and Lee Swing is also known as Tulane Swing and Louisiana Swing

Way Down upon the Swanee River is also known as The Old Folks at Home

Weary Blues is also known as Travelling Blues and much of it is often played as Shake It And Break It (but note there is also a different Shake It And Break It recorded by King Oliver)

When Shadows Fall is also known as Home

Yaaka Hula Hickey Dula is also known as Hawaiian Love Song

Please note that Red Onion Rag (by Abe Olman, 1912) is a quite different tune from Louis Dumaine's Red Onion Drag.

12 October 2015

Traditional Jazz: Musicians Transporting Their Instruments in New Orleans

One of the fascinating things about being in the French Quarter of New Orleans, as I was for two weeks in April 2015, is that you can't walk more than a hundred yards down Royal Street or Bourbon Street without seeing musicians coming to or returning from performances on the streets or in the bars and clubs.

It is virtually impossible to take a car into the French Quarter and find somewhere to park cheaply, so most of them have found other enterprising ways of transporting even the bulkiest instruments and equipment. The bicycle is a very important tool in the kit of most musicians. Trailers are often fitted. Those fortunate enough to live close by may be able to walk to work, carrying their instruments like the gentleman with the sousaphone in the fourth photo below.
Photo of Barnabus Jones, courtesy of Bill Stock
Marla Dixon
Photo by Elena Davletova

Yes, a lot of effort goes into
getting the show on the road.

Playing Traditional Jazz: Do We Really Need A 'Front Line'?

(This is an updated version of an article I wrote in 2014)

I don't know who started the fashion way back in the mid-20th Century for having a 'front line' of clarinet, trumpet and trombone and a 'back line' rhythm section with such instruments as percussion, banjo and bass. Maybe it was the George Lewis band.
The set-up thrusts the front line into the limelight and prevents the audience from seeing and appreciating the other musicians. The players at the back often complain that they can't clearly hear those at the front. Also, this formation makes it difficult for signals to be passed between the musicians (for example - who is going to 'take the solo' in the next chorus). A front-line player who is the band-leader frequently has to turn round in the middle of a tune to signal or speak to colleagues.

I know there are some cramped venues where such a set-up is hard to avoid. But I have often thought it would be better for both the band and the audience if the musicians arranged themselves in an arc or semi-circular formation, in the same way as string quartets and quintets do in the classical music world. The players would all be able to see and hear each other and the audiences would see all the players.

The wonderful young band Tuba Skinny, based in New Orleans, is setting us an example in this respect, as in so many others. They almost always spread themselves out in front of their audience. Shaye Cohn, who gives the directions, sits where she can be seen by all her colleagues. The clarinet and the trombone occupy positions shoulder to shoulder with her because it is with them that she has to work closely to produce the band's wonderful polyphony. The tuba and banjo or guitar are in line so the audience has an unimpeded view of them. Every individual in the band can be seen and appreciated by the audience:
Get it?

Don't you agree that's a better way to present our music?
By the way, since I originally wrote the above article (in 2014), I have noticed a few more bands playing in the 'arc' formation. I'm very pleased about this.

'Droppin' Shucks': Another Good Tune - from Lil Armstrong to Tuba Skinny

Correspondent Jim Sterling told me he had recently been very pleased to discover the YouTube video of Tuba Skinny playing Droppin' Shucks in Royal Street as long ago as 2012, when the band still had Ryan Baer on banjo and when there was no reed player.I'm talking of this video - click on here to view.

The message from Jim reminded me that I enjoyed the video when I first saw it in 2012. At the time, I remember listening also (for comparison) to the original 1926 version composed by Lil Hardin Armstrong and recorded by Louis Armstrong's Hot Five (also available on YouTube).

But on that occasion, apart from feeling that it was a very good but quite complicated piece of music, I thought no more about it.

Jim enjoyed the performance and particularly praised Shaye's muted cornet work. Throughout the three minutes, Shaye uses her Humes and Berg 102 stonelined cup mute and has it fully wedged inside the bell of her cornet. We know that on other occasions, she prefers to hold it half in and half out of the bell. Barnabus also, using his Humes and Berg stonelined straight mute, plays some lovely stuff complementing Shaye's melodic lines. Jim also specially liked the final Chorus, in which Shaye and Barnabus play so well together, alternating the 'breaks'.

It's interesting to observe how Ryan (at 2 mins 08 secs) warns Max that the band is about to go to the 12-bar 'breaks interlude' rather than the start of the Chorus; and then (at 2 mins 24 secs) that this time they are returning to the start of the Chorus. (The 'Breaks Interlude' is copied from the original Armstrong recording.)

Perhaps Max hadn't played this number with the band before. (In fact it is a song they seem to have played very rarely over the years.)

Now that Jim has encouraged me to listen more carefully to it again, I realise Droppin' Shucks is not really as complicated as I had thought. Basically it has a simple and pretty 16-bar minor-key Verse played once (Tuba Skinny play it in C minor); and then the Chorus - played several times (in the key of Ab) - is simply one of those 16-bar standards (with 'breaks' on Bars 9 - 12), very similar to How Come You Do Me Like You Do Do Do? or If It Don't Fit, Don't Force It or Don't Go Away, Nobody, or Forget Me Not Blues.

The only little extra ingredient is that 12-bar 'Breaks Interlude' I mentioned - which may be regarded as optional.

So it's easy to pick up. Let's have more bands playing it!

As for what the title Droppin' Shucks means, I think you may be able to find out. But I shall say nothing on the subject. Regular readers will know that I limit the contents of my pages to the decorous, the refined, and the tasteful.