What I've Learned 1 and 2
What I've Learned One:
Oral Surgery + Pain Management Mismanagement divided by Leonard Cohen then multiplied by a primarily 30-something upwardly mobile pub full of Brits (who look upon their parents' Elvis Costello and Squeeze albums much the way I looked upon my parents' Dean Martin and Brazil '66 collection) = utter disaster.
First song in my solo set I thought would be a youngish Brit pub crowd pleaser. "Goodbye Girl" by Squeeze. Easy-Peesy. Three chords. Sing-along chorus.
There's a You Tube version of Glenn Tillbrook playing this solo at a football match, and I used this as a model. When I finished my singing for the 9th "Goobye Girl"--that's it, that's the chorus--silence ensued except for an occasional uncomfortable cough. So mugged was not the word (whatever that means).
Next, because it has been running through my head on an endless loop since a friend of mine followed Arthur's tracks to Australia for a recent holiday, I had to get this out of my system: "Victoria" by the Kinks. For me, this song kicks major ass (oh, I mean arse). Why it is not the British National anthem is a mystery to me.
Again--a great sing-along chorus. Veddy British. Veddy British crowd, but. . .
. . .when the song ended and as the vibrating, ringing tones of the chorus effects on my first position "G" chord died into the churlish, choleric chill of the desert evening, a weary tumbleweed cowered its way across the dance floor; somewhere crickets chirped as a loose shutter squeekily swung to and fro.
(Is that last sentence too Charles Karaultish?)
Next--Elvis Costello's "Veronica" which admittedly has some pretty depressing verses but it also has an uptempo, bright Buddy Holly-esque bounce to it and only a few naughty major 7ths and diminished chords that slow the song down at one point for a little E.C. poetry recital. I really like this song although I've long been lukewarm on anything E.C. has done since Imperial Bedroom--an early album of his and his opus--I only know this one well enough to play it because an old friend was once very much in love with this song (it reminded her of her grandmother so she'd play it over and over and over).
When I finished this song on its final first position "C", another short period of uncomfortable silence followed broken only by these words, “Where's the loo?"
I may as well have gone on to "Everybody Loves Somebody" at this point, but in a final act of defiance, like that mouse flipping off the eagle about to snuff the lil critter for dinner, I did not finish with my emergency back-up, leave them tapping their feet version of "Paint It Black" (which survives down the generations because of Vietnam war movies). I thought, "fuggit" and went with Leonard Cohen's "Bird on a Wire".
Joe Cocker covered this song. In fact, he's the first person I'd ever heard sing it. So for me, that makes it a British, not a Canadian song. But this crowds' grandparents would only have known this song, yet then again, maybe not.
That song was about as out of place as. . .as. . .as a "drunk in a midnight choir".
I fretted about the underwhelming response in an Email I sent to this the feller I dueted with and he reassured me by writing back:
Don't sweat the performance you gave. I've done songs there that haven't gone over very well just because they're a bit too folky or American. It's a very British crowd who wants lots of poppy, danceable tunes, preferably by British artists."
Squeeze? Elvis Costello? Kinks? Not poppy and dancey and British
Truth is, it wasn't just me. Even this very tight British blues power trio made up of architects also got a subdued response. The guitar player is exceptionally good. They even broke up what can be the monotony of 3-chord electric blues by playing this ballsy version of "Caravan"--and quite well, I must say.
The organizer of the once a month event and my duet partner did notice the same thing I noticed that, coincidentally, the blues guitarist also noticed and we discussed this: Everyone who did a Beatles' tune, got a nice round of applause. Chris and I did "The One After 909" and that did go over well. As did, "Things We Said Today", another song we played
So next month, the word is going around: we're gonna have a Beatles tribute night.
I've called dibs on "Across the Universe", "Yer Blues", "Julia" and "Run for Your Life". because they should all go down well with my upper register nasally mama cat giving birth voice.
What I've Learned Two:
In 1964, a banner welcomed The Beatles to New York. It read "Beatles 4 ever". And I'll be damned. That sign was right.