Mustang Sally, Bolero, and Spam

No baseball coverage today. Because I’m not in the mood, that’s why.

So I bought one of those little wallet-sized gadgets that you can put, like, 500 CDs worth of music on. It has rechargeable batteries and headphones. The idea is you can listen to pretty much anything you want, any time you want.

And while I’m sure it’s really good for that sort of thing, it also has a condenser mic so you can record stuff. I use it to document band rehearsals. The sound quality isn’t great, but it’s good enough to hear if you’re off key or changing tempos mid-song. Plus you can burn everything to CD after rehearsal and hand ‘em out to the guys so they can listen at home.

You hear what’s working well (hey, nice harmonies) and what could be improved (dude, what chord is that?). But my favorite thing is that it catches those mistakes that you can’t re-create on your own but which actually end up sounding pretty cool.

The other day we’re running through “Mustang Sally” (Buddy Guy’s version, more or less). We get to the solo, and I guess my mind is elsewhere, because I forget what key I’m supposed to play in. I mean, I have no idea what the root note is, what position I should be in. Nothing. (I should have had my ring finger on the 10th fret of the G string, bending up from an F# to a G for those keeping score at home.)

So I’m off in this weird place, and I start feeling my way around for some kind of melody. And I find something that works. It ain’t the blues, but it works. And I’m thinking it sounds familiar. Turns out, I’ve stumbled onto a phrase from Ravel‘s Bolero.

Meantime, between rehearsal and listening to the CDs I burned, I’ve forgotten about all this. As far as I’m concerned, all I know is I blew the solo. Which is okay in rehearsal, because if you’re going to blow a solo, that’s the place to do it. Not live, in front of people.

But then I’m listening to the CD, and I hear Bolero. And I’m laughing because, against all probability, it works. You can play the first dozen or so notes from Bolero in G major against a C7 / F7 progression, which is exactly what “Mustang Sally” is. It’s the damndest thing. Hey, I figure if Eric Clapton can play “Blue Moon” as the solo for “Sunshine of Your Love,” then why not throw Ravel into the blues, right?


Mailbag: Special Spam Edition

I get a lot of spam. I mean, a lot of it. So since people I know aren’t writing me, I thought I’d take this opportunity to respond to some of these fine men and women.

First up, B.D. from Loserville writes:

Get your College Diploma today! No books, tests or interviews.. no classes either! No one is turned down.

Thanks for the offer. Sounds totally legit and something I’d really like to be a part of, but I’m going to pass.

J.L. chimes in from the Eighth Plane of Hell with this succinct message:

Take a valium.

To which I offer this equally succinct reply:

Go @#$% yourself. And when you’re done, you take a #@$#&&@ valium.

Next, C.P. from Idiot City, writes (well, he writes a novel, but I’ll just edit for brevity; ellipses denote missing text):

I am… the famous Revolutionary… buried here… I beg you… to put me into a foster home… called America… I will make no attempt to call you by land based telephone… I await your response.

I may have missed a few things, but that’s the gist of it. Something about Cuba, an inheritance, and my money. Yadda, yadda. Well, C.P., this may or may not help. But someone suggested it to me and it didn’t apply to my situation; maybe it’ll work for you:

Take a valium.

Finally, we get this compelling invitation from B.T.:

We can make your lips plumper.

Wow, that’s great. Just what I always wanted: plump lips. If I buy your product, will I look like I got stung by bees? I sure hope so; I haven’t figured out a way to get that look (without actually getting stung by bees, that is). Hey, can you make my bank account plumper, too? That’d be cool.

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