15 June 2017


I have written before about the value of fake books (sometimes called 'busker's books') to traditional jazz musicians, especially in the early stages of mastering your craft.

But beware. Some fake books - though crammed with tunes - are not as helpful as you may expect. They contain very few tunes the traditional jazz musician is likely to play.

But you can find less pretentious books that provide the leadsheets (words, notes and chords) of quite a few essential tunes. Such is 101 Pub Favourites for Buskers. Pub favourites tend to be in most cases traditional jazz favourites too; and they are often among the simplest tunes you need to master.
So from this book, for example, you can learn such tunes as After the Ball, You Always Hurt the One You Love,  Ain't She Sweet, Bill Bailey, On a Slow Boat to China, Nobody's Sweetheart Now, I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter, I Can't Give You Anything But Love, and so on. Here, for example, is On The Sunny Side of the Street - as you can see, very clear and easy to learn from. AND it even includes the Verse (which many musicians don't know).
I bought this book way back in 1986, would you believe, when I was at the stage of getting started and trying to play a few simple tunes in a group formed by three friends. It was produced by Wise Publications. There were several others in the '101' series.

I doubted whether these books were still on sale three decades later. But a quick internet search showed me that you can easily still order a new copy for about £18 (i.e., U.K. price) or you may obtain a used copy much more cheaply.
By the way, if you may be interested in reading my e-Book called 'Playing Traditional Jazz', which is for jazz players and would-be jazzers, click here:
This will let you sample-read a few pages.