5 January 2016


Today, in case your band does not already have this type of tune in its repertoire, I am going to recommend a simple 16-bar theme. I have put it in my example in the key of D; but C or Bb would work just as well.

Take a look at this:

As you can see, it has an easy chord progression and an A  -  A   -   B  -  A  structure. The 'B' section (bars 9 - 12) lend themselves effectively to being played as breaks (though I would not recommend doing this in every chorus). The tune should be played at just above medium tempo, at which you could get the whole band swinging and the audience dancing. If you want to include a vocal, you have a choice between devising one yourself (easy enough) or using one from the past (see examples below).

As an added refinement, you could append a tag, turning it into an 18-bar chorus, like this:

You would have to decide whether to use the tag on every chorus or perhaps just on some - notably the final chorus.

This pattern of tune, with pretty well this chord sequence and with a melody very similar to what I have used above, was popular between 1900 and the 1930s, when many famous bands had at least one tune of this kind in its repertoire.

Think of  Hot Nuts! Get 'Em From the Peanut Man, Droppin' ShucksIf It Don't Fit, Don't Force It, Everyone's Talking About Sammy, The Alligator Pond Went DryMy Sweet Lovin' Man, If You Don't Like It Like I Like It, I'm a Ding Dong Daddy from Doumas, Don't Care BluesDon't Go Away, Nobody, How Come You Do Me Like You Do Do Do?, Prove It On Me BluesGimme Some of that Yum Yum Yum, Forget Me Not Blues.

[NOTE: There is another group of good 16-bar tunes (18 including tag) that use the Sweet Sue Chord Progression and have the 'breaks' on bars 7 and 8. These include most famously I Wish I Could Shimmy Like My Sister Kate, South (Theme B)and Up Jumped the Devil. But they will be a subject for another day.]