The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #84679   Message #1564399
Posted By: Don Firth
15-Sep-05 - 01:39 PM
Thread Name: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
Subject: RE: Folk Artists - Wise up (or Fade away)!
Since I no longer perform with the kind of regularity that I used to, there are a bunch of songs I used to do a lot that I haven't sung for a long time. When I get together with Bob the Deckman and other people, I all too often find myself blanking out on a line in a song that I've sung hundreds of times. I wind up staring desperately at the ceiling in hopes that some benevolent gremlin will suddenly write the missing words up there, but no such luck!

[I've notice, however, that I'm not the only one.]

I don't like it when people sing out of a book. I don't mind a personal notebook used as a cue-sheet. After all, I've seen Luciano Pavarotti in recital on TV occasionally glance down at a music stand. He knows the song, but understandably he doesn't want to take a chance on going blank in front of a huge audience, especially if it's being taped for television. But if someone is reading a song out of Rise Up Singing, for example, that's just damned unprofessional.   I'm talking here about performances, not song fests, although even there I can get pretty exasperated with people who try to do a song they either don't know or know only vaguely by reading it out of a book like RUS. Learn the damned song! Then, if you need a quick cue, okay, but don't subject people to "I just heard this song the other day. I don't know the words and I'm not sure of the tune, but—aha!—here it is on page seventy-three. . . ."

I've bitten the bullet and am currently in the process of assembling a three-ring binder containing the words to all the songs I know. I will keep it handy on a music stand or propped somewhere in easy view. What I'm doing is being my own benevolent gremlin. I know the song, but if I suddenly realize that I don't remember how the next verse starts, a quick glance will get me back on track. And I won't be subjecting people to watching me stare at the ceiling and grope for the words.

I'm using one of those binders with a clear plastic cover so I can slip a sheet into it that says something like "EMERGENCY KIT. Open in case of Senior Moment."

Don Firth