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6 March 2018

Post 605: SEARCHING FOR TAINTED TUNE TITLES

'We're now going to play that good old number from the 1930s - Fats Waller's I'm Crazy 'Bout My Baby.'

'One, Two; One, Two Three....'.

'Hold on! Hold on!' shouts the bass player, hunting through his chord book. 'Does it come under I for I'm Crazy? No. I can't find it.'

'Try under C,' calls the piano player. 'You've probably got it as Crazy 'Bout My Baby'.

How often I have heard such conversations delaying the start of tunes and also making the band look incompetent.
A Friend's Chord Book
When you are compiling an extensive alphabetical chordbook or list of repertoire, you have to take so much care. In the case of the I'm Crazy 'Bout My Baby example, it might pay to have the chords under both letters.

Another troublesome problem is how to handle tunes beginning with an apostrophe.

For example, do you put 'S Wonderful under I because it means It’s Wonderful, or does it go under S?

If you set out the title correctly with the apostrophe included and then tell your computer to ‘SORT’ your titles into alphabetical order, you are likely to see 'S Wonderful end up neither under 'I' nor under 'S'.

But on a gig, you may need to find a tune quickly. So you need a good system.

There’s a similar problem with all the Taint tunes. Think, for example, of ’Tain’t Nobody’s Business if I Do, ’Tain’t No Sin to Take Off Your Skin, Tain’t What You Do, It’s The Way That You Do It, Tain’t Nothing Else But Jazz. Do you want them pedantically under 'I' [for It Ain't] or under 'T'?

The best solution, when preparing such lists, is to omit the apostrophe, ensuring that you begin the title positively with a letter rather than a punctuation mark. Then, the 'SORT' into alphabetical order on your computer will convert any list into something more useful. So use TAINT rather than TAINT.

Then there's the matter of tunes that have an apostrophe very near the beginning, as in I'm Alone Because I Love You. Would you expect this to appear before, or after, If I Had You ? It makes things easier if you establish a rule and stick to it.

In my case, I keep little notebooks containing leadsheets. These are supported by a separate Index. I have found the best solution for this Index is to show letters only. In other words, I get rid of all spaces and punctuation marks. I then let the computer 'sort' the titles in alphabetic order and - by thinking only of the letters, I can instantly find any tune. Here's an extract from my Index:
ILoveParis285
ILoveYou(ColePorter)288
ILoveYou(Thompson/Archer)294
ILoveYouBecauseYouUnderst289
ILoveYouSoMuchItHurts167
ImAloneBecauseILoveYou168
ImAlwaysChasingRainbows356
IMayBeWrongBut293
ImBeginningtoSeethLt386
ImBlueandLonesome28
ImComingVirginia1140
ImConfessin1142
ImCrazyBoutMyBaby1141
ImDreamingofaWhiteChristm229
ImForeverBlowingBubbles333
ImGettingSentimentlOY387
ImGoingAwaytoWearY290
ImGonnaLockMyHeartand244
ImGonnaMeetMSwtieN382
ImGonnaSitRightDown&W167
ImHenerytheEighthIAm35
ImHummingtoMyself315
ImintheMarketforYou1143
ImintheMoodforLove292
ImLookingOver4L289
ImNobody’sBaby47
ImPuttingAllMyEggs390
ImShyMaryEllenImShy356
ImSittingonTofthWld391
ImSorryIMadeYouCry256
InaMellowTone47
InAppleBlossomTime155
InaShantyinOldShantyTown257
Indiana122
IndianLoveCall244
INeverKnewthatRosesGrew356
INeverKnewWhataGalCdDo379
InHarlemsAraby370
IntheGarden388
IntheGloaming383
IntheGoodOldSummerTime190
IntheMood374
IntheShadeoftheOldAppleTr284
InTheSweetB&B289
IntheUpperGarden389
IntoEachLifeSomeRain294
InWalkedBud361
IOnlyHaveEyesforYou274
ISawMummyKissingSantaCl294
IsItTrueWhatTheySayabtD1115
IsleofCapri113
ISurrender,Dear386
IsYouIsOrIsYuAintMB317
ItDontMeanaThing333
ItFeelsSoGood164
ItHadToBeYou287
ItHappenedinMonterey295
ItIsNoSecret462
ItLooksLikeaBigTimeTont421
ItLooksLikeRaininCherry422
ItsAllRightWithMe351
ItsaLongWaytoTipperary1115
ItsaSintoTellaLie179
What it means is that, for example, if I want 'I'm in the Market for You', I find it as
ImintheMarketforYou1143
and this tells me the tune is to be found in Notebook One, Page 143.

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The book Playing Traditional Jazz by Pops Coffee is available from Amazon.