4 May 2013


Yet another obscure old tune has been unearthed by Tuba Skinny. We have to thank the band for reviving it after almost 90 years and for giving us such a delightful interpretation. We must also thank - as so often - the great video-maker codenamed RaoulDuke504 for being there to film it for us and for identifying it.

The tune (previously unknown to me - and probably to you too) is Chocolate Avenue - one of the forgotten numbers by the prolific Clarence Williams.

It is a conventionally-structured 32-bar tune [ A   -  A  -  B  - A ] in Eb. The only harmonic 'surprise' is the second half of the fourth bar in the A sections,  where the harmony appears to be Eb minor where the ear would expect Eb major.

Tuba Skinny play the tune gently, four times through, without any Introduction.

Note especially the third time, where the responsibility for leading the melody is shared among the instruments, including the sousaphone and banjo, and where the cornet, clarinet and trombone play harmonising long notes during the Middle Eight.

Although this performance is a joy, it is spoiled by a dimwit in the audience just out of camera shot who after the middle of the Second Chorus keeps blowing some kind of whistle - probably one of those little wooden 'bird-whistles'. This is the kind of annoying thing that happens when a band plays in the public street. It is irritating, so I hope another opportunity will arise for RaoulDuke504 to get a 'clean' sound when this tune is played again by Tuba Skinny.