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Records at Aldi


I was grovery shipping at Aldi today and something caught my eyes in the Aldi finds aisle. I saw what looked to be Kind of Blue by Miles Davis on Vinyl. Well that's exactly what it was. Only $18.99??? Other titles in the Sony Vinyl Hits category include Michael Jackson Off The Wall, Billie Holiday, and Elvis Presley. I knew stores like Wal-Mart and Target are selling some vinyl reissues now but this still surprised me.

kind of blue record

You Belong To Me


Ed changed his mind and now wants us to play You Belong To Me for his wedding proprosal event. He referenced a version from the Shrek soundtrack. I always thought it was a doo wop song (which it was) but a quick visit to Wikipedia helped me learn that it goes back further than that and has had many many versions made. I listened to about 10 versions. I think this version Rose McGowan sounds most like us. This is basically a cover of the Patsy Cline version. Another think I leanred from listeneing to all the versions is The Jason Wade (Shrek) version is a cover of the Bob Dylan version and the Tori Amos version is a cover of the Jo Stafford version.

La Cumparsita


I worked on this tune today because I'm pretty sure we will be playing it Friday as part of a live stream dance event we are doing. We usually only play it for the ballroom dancers. I don't want to just read it but really know it. It will be more fun and also a better performance that way. And since I have played it and heard it many times it shouldn't be too hard to do. Just need to spend some time with it, which I did today. I listened to several versions but locked in on the Brave Combo version. They play it fairly straight and since it has a tenor sax lead it is perfect. They follow the form pretty much like the lead sheet we have with a couple exceptions. I think the second 8 bars of the lead sheet aren't even right, it's more of a harmony part. I looked at the original music to confirm this. On the brave combo version he plays a couple different variations during the second 8 bard of the A section, which I liked. He also changes up some of the rhythms throughout. They extended the trio by repeated the last 8 bars up an octave. They end the phrases a little differently, just hanging on the V. I like that too but don't expect the band to pick up on it without rehearsing it. In any case, I have it more internalived now and plan to go over it each day this week. Fun classic tango!

Update 2020-12-08

Got the set list and we are not doing La Cumparsita. Oh, I'm glad I worked it out because now I have it! We are doing Kiss of Fire and Whatever Lola Wants. Those two I already know pretty well. I practiced Kiss of Fire early this year by ear. I played it yesterday and retained it well. And Whatever Lola Wants I already had learned by ear and we used to play that fairly regularly.

Sheet Music Links


Music Links

I compiled this list of sheet music links today for my own reference. Some are more useful than others.

Bossa Nova Bachanal


I never heard of this album before. It was posted on a twitter account called jazz on this day. It's a nice way to find out about some classic jazz recordings and/or artists. I enjoy Charlie Rouse's playing with Thelonious Monk. Plus I love Bossa Nova stuff so I'm checking it out. Great stuff.

Oh Babe


I was listening to wdcb while decorating the store and they mentioned it was Nat Adderley's birthday and they played this live recording with him singing. I thought it was great and thought it was something I had never heard, but when I looked it up I discovered it's on a CD I've had for years - Live at Operation Breadbasket. I need to listen to the whole CD again! It's going in the car.

La Vie en Rose


This week our friend Ed asked us to perform for his wedding proposal. He wants up to set up outside the balcony of a mansion he rented out and play La Vie en rose. It will be a surprise to his bride to be, of course. He wants to make it very romantic. We haven't played this song with the band since one of the first weddings we did, way back when. Even before Amanda was in the band. Of course I have played it on accordion and even had one of my students want to learn it. When I first learned it for the band I remember listening to multiple versions including Edith Piaf, Louis Armstring, and a nice tenor sax solo which was listed by Sonny Stitt but it's actually Gene Ammons. I started transcribing that one today. I don't think there was much music on youtube back then, I remember buying it from the itunes store. Ed's favorite is by Madeleine Peyroux. I think when we did it at the wedding many years ago we emulated the Louis Armstroing version.

Update 9 Dec

Just got a text last night that there is a change of plans and he wants us to play "You Belong To Me" instead. This was an old Doo Wop song by The Duprees that he wants us to play more in the style of the Shrek Soundtrack. Should be interesting, as that version is only a guitar and male vocal and we are a 7 piece swing band with female vocal. OK.

Jesucita en Chihuahua


Back in May of this year we watched Thee Amigos with the kids. In fact we watched it at least twice, maybe three times. I recognized two songs from the party scenes. First was Zacatecas which is in Palmer-Hughes accordion book three. Second was the topic of this post, Jesusita En Chihuahua.

I learned the first section by ear on the accordion and wanted to dig in more. Now it was bugging me because I highly recognized the tune but didn't know the title or where I knew it from besides this movie. I found some Mariachi versions and perhaps the original version on youtube and eventually realized I knew it from Brave Combo, Polkatharsis. Side note: I bought this record from the used section at Remember When Records when I was in Jr. Hi I believe, and I still have it. But in this process I found some other fun versions and learned it's also sometimes known as Jesse Polka, primarily among fiddle string bands. Here's a version by Bob Wills. One of my favorites is this band that appears to be in a restaurant or someone's house.

I worked out the entire song and eventually brought it to the band and we played it a few times this season at our Oktoberfest gigs. Still working on that middle section, it's a doozie.

Even today I found some new versions including Esquivel, and the Donald Duck Cartoon which I remember from my childhood, Three Caballeros.

Astronauts Time Capsule


I received a mystery package from my friend Chris Cougill yesterday. I opened the box and saw three things wrapped in paper. What is it? I unwrapped the first to find a stack of cassette tapes with (mostly)nicely typed labels. They were live Astronauts shows from the late 90s. I opened the second and found another stack of tapes. 8 tapes in all. I'm pretty sure I did the typing. Not sure if these were my copies of Chris's. The third was a poster I made for the record release show in 1998. For some reason I literally cut and pasted things onto the paper and potocopied it ot make the poster. I guess it was a design/asthetic choice. Or maybe it was easier that way.

Titles include:

These should prove interesting to listen to. Maybe I will digitize some. Maybe not. I texted Chris to thank him and he said he found them in the basement. He said he couldn't listen to them because he doesn't have a cassette player anymore. I was shocked!

Saxophone Pictures


A few saxophone pictures I found on the internet.

Must Be Santa


Change of plans for today! Yesterday I got a reminder that I was supposed to submit a video for a virtual Westmont Holly Days. I was going to do a ukulele thing on Saturday with Dad and Susie but it was restring for food which ended up being pretty busy and Susie wasn't there anyway. So what to do? Why not a Christmas polka!? We have rehearsal today and it would be a good cross promo for the store and the band. Plus, we usually do Christmas polkas (originals) at the parade with ICV. Greg moved to Kentucky so that's not an option this year.

But which song to record? At first I thought of the Sausage and Sauerkraut for Santa song. I love it and would love to play it but I didn't think it was the best choice for this. Next thing I thought MUST BE SANTA! One of my favorites off Brave Combo Christmas. It is, of course, a cover of Mitch Miller. In the past few years Bob Dylan also did a cover which is pretty much a straight copy of the BC arranegment. Anyway, so what? It is a fun song which will be easy to play since I am so familiar with it already. Ran over it a few times, no problem. I found a chart on musescore and just had to tweak it a bit so I could have something for Hans and Kurt to read off of. The chart was close but imcomplete. Had to change some chords and put the changes over the vocal part to make a quick lead sheet.

Kurt is going to come early and help set things up - cameras, set, Christmas decor. The store needs to be decorated for Christmas anyway! I'm going to set most of that up first. Then later this afternoon we can run the tune and make the video. I think it should go well.

This is the second year in a row without a parade. Last year it was canceled because there was rain in the foprecast. Then it ended up not even raining. We still wanted people to come out to out Holly Days open house so we made this quick Mele Kalikimaka video and posted it on social media. People liked it although I'm not sure that it brought anyone out that night. There were some passersby that we lured in with our Christmas carols and I think we did end up selling a ukulele as a result.

Lesni Sabava


Another song from the Czech reunion website. I found a nice version on youtube which follows the chart pretty closely. The recording is in G and the chart is in F, however. Haven't actually played it yet but it could be a fun one.

Az Rano


This is one my Dad told me about. He remembered the song but could only find one version on you tube. These guys seem fun!

I couldn't find much about it either. I did find this sheet music, but it's a czech site so I couldn't buy it! I don't like the IV chord in the second and fourth measures anyway, I don't think that's right.

Then I came across this great site that has a bunch of old Czech songs arranged for a small band. It was for a family reunion. Very helpful! I downloaded the parts and learned it on accordion off the violin part.

We will try it at polka rehearsal this week. Maybe we will try some of the other tunes on that site too!

20-11-2020 update - we didn't get a chance to try it because of our last minute video session of Must Be Santa. We did discuss it and listen to it though. I also told them about Lesni Zábava (Woodland Frolic) and we will give that one a try as well.

Wein Weib Gesang


This is another sheet Alex gave me along with Bublinchki. I had not heard of this particular Straus Waltz and was anxious to play it. I thought maybe it could work as for our German band. I played through it on accordion first. It had strange lyrics and I later found out someone wrote some English lyrics over it for this edition. I could not find a recording by Henry Busse (pictured on the cover) anywhere online. So I looked up orchestral versions and found out it's part of a longer piece. This version is in C and has 3 sections. Like many old waltzes, the original is really long and has lots of sections. I found the original was in E-flat and found a piano score on musescore.com. I started adapting it to accordion and it was working out ok. I figured I would probably use the same sections as this edition of sheet music to keep it more consise for our purpose. A few weeks later I searched more on youtube and actually found a German band version! I didn't know it had been done this way. So I thought I would emulate that and made my own reduced version out of the piano score and had fun playing along with this version by Die Tiroler Blasmusikanten by ear. I wanted to ge their CD but couldn't find it online, I might have to settle for an itunes download.

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About a month ago our upstairs neighbor Alex gave me a couple pieces of old sheet music. Someone at his store had donated them and he took them for the covers. Well I thought might as well see what they sound like! So I discovered a couple new tunes that are are fun to play and I think could even work for the polka band.

I liked this one for the picture right away and it reminded me of my friend Ed. I texted it to him and he loved it. I played it on accordion, it's a Russian folk song in a minor key. I liked the sound of it.

I started going to youtube and the 78 rpm archive to listen to different versions. Firstly I learned it goes by multiple titles and spellings. I found Russian folk styles and even discovered it had been covered by swing bands like Ziggy Elman and Benny Goodman. One of the more traditional versions I liked was sung by German singer, allegedly of Russian ancestry, Ivan Rebroff, who also did my favorite version of Im Tiffen Keller which we covered in the polka band. I also came to realize that I already owned and had heard a version of this song done by Leon Sash on a record I picked up at Goodwill within the last year. I just hadn't placed it!

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