Fat Tuesdays for Funk / Soul / Jazz / Blues musicians

It’s been a while since I put up a blog.  I’ve had the pleasure of getting married recently so have been pre-occupied :) .  I’ll write a blog about some of the excellent suppliers we found sometime soon, and also one about the nightmare that finding a band can be! Some of the demands bands make, and fees that agents charge left me a little cold. Anyway – another time..  

I have an inkling of an idea. It’s a mere spark in the milkman’s eye at the moment but why not put it on the internet.

Whenever I’m thinking about what to do for an evening out there are 2 things that tend to spring to mind.  First is that I would like to see more local gigs that showcase quality music and clever ideas.  Second is that I’m always on the look out to meet and play with more musicians.

Unfortunately many of the gigs that you stumble across don’t display much in terms of ambition and ability.  For those of us who are in bands there is always the problem of finding deps, and keeping them up to speed with what you do. I also suspect that there are many musicians out there who have not had the chance to sit in with bands either for fun, for extra cash, or even just experience and to cut their teeth.

What if we could start a regular night where we took over a venue, had some equipment set up, and let a variety of bands play a few numbers each / share ideas / jam / collaborate? Let people showcase ideas or meet and play with potential deps.  It would essentially be a free club for local musicians to bring ideas and have fun. Of course you’d need to be invited to play… we wouldn’t want it to border on karaoke!

It’s probably just a dream but wouldn’t it be cool to know you could just show up, hear quality music, meet like minded musicians and have a few drinks. 

Maybe it’s just me…?

Soul and Funk never get dull

We’ve been busy recently with various weddings and parties. The Weddings have all been fantastic and we’ve been lucky enough to have been hired by some genuinely lovely couples. Their guests have all been up for a good time, and been kind enough to dance through our set, and chat to us afterwards.

I think it helps that we all genuinely enjoy, and get a buzz out of playing. That seems to come across and people are more receptive to a band that is having a good time whilst they play. It struck me whilst we were playing “Signed, sealed, delivered” (for the hundredth time), at a brilliant wedding in Bradford-upon-Avon, that I never get bored of playing the songs we play! We have not only gigged them countless times, but we’ve also rehearsed them probably just as many times again. There are some songs that we do that are different to the original (“Tainted Love” being a prime example), and I get excited about people hearing it and seeing the penny drop as we mix it up with another popular melody. But I even still get a kick out of playing the songs exactly as per the recording.

Soul and funk never get dull!

That’s partly down to the vibe, and feel of the songs. They always lift your spirits. It’s also down to how amazingly well written the songs are as well. Stevie Wonder is an absolute genius! The man wrote so many timeless hits that are more musically interesting and catchy than thousands of records that have come since.

A couple of fun Stevie links:
With another legend http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XJYUSdX-Rps&feature=related;
covered regularly: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kCPjeOPjH5Y
the bass player on this made me want to sell my bass http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2CZtxgl6qNo

Thinking of the guys who play in the background I’m constantly amazed by how many of the songs from our set were originally backed by the same bunch of guys – The Funk Brothers. All you have to do is scroll down on their Wikipedia page for a list of songs they played on: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Funk_Brothers

It reads like a list of essential records from that period. Incidentally if you think any are missing then it’s likely that they were recorded by the guys at Stax – Booker T and the MG’s, or the LA group The Wrecking Crew. These guys were all incredible musicians who carved their own personalities into the songs. James Jamerson (bass) alone is idolised by bass players everywhere. Just check out the chorus line to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xz-UvQYAmbg for tasteful and just right, or if you want to hear him play all over the fret board then listen to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v8YPxkZ6m3s&feature=fvwrel – not a single bar is repeated – the guy was a monster player.

Sadly they never really got the fame that they deserved in their hay-day. They were the ultimate session band and deserve all the respect and admiration that the records they played on have.

For us we’re just happy that they made all the songs so interesting and fun to play. It means that we get a kick out of them when we learn them and when we play them for the hundredth time.