Friday, March 20, 2015

At The Mississippi Cabaret

Dedicated to the Mississippi Public Employees Retirement System

At The Mississippi Cabaret
Words by A. Seymour Brown
Music by: Albert Gumble
Key: C Major

This is one song from way back. 101 years old. And this is on newsprint paper so it's fragile and the pages separated. The sheet music itself is 100 years old. It's a small miracle that it survived the 3 years in my van, once it got rained on when a window leaked, I almost used it to start a fire in the wood stove. But I'm glad I didn't because this particular cabaret/ragtime tune is something that I am tested to play. The Once in A While, Daybreak, Stardust, Some Enchanted Evening, Deep Purple style is very easy to slow down to my skill level and then take liberties with the tempo. But this kind of basic cabaret tune is what separates the players from Oggy because if I slow it down to a speed I can sort of play it at then it loses all the uptempo spirit, and the tempo must be consistent because the song depends on swinging your hips and tapping your toes and if you are tapping and I'm not playing the whole mood is broken. It's even worse if I play it as slow as a Death March. But this is a work in progress and I'm not going to wait 10 years so I can really devote myself to sight reading and then record this. I shudder to think that I'm at my peak on the piano...and it only gets worse from here. That would suck. As you can see, I'm getting old and thought the lyrics were, "You'll see them dancing with banjos rising. You'll see them prancing and hear them dancing."
Well, Rising and Dancing don't really rhyme and I thought A. Seymour Brown dropped the ball on that one. Then I looked closer and realized the word is Ringing, which makes way more sense. My eyesight is still pretty good considering how much porn I've watched on the internet.

I think this style is familiar from the movie Cabaret and the ragtime, two-step feel, but I honestly don't think this was a popular style in 1914. No, I think this is a nostalgic tune. The Mississippi River is the western border of Tennessee, in case you are wondering. Memphis, Tenn is in the tri-state corner of Tennessee, Mississippi and, since these states love double consonants, Arrkannsass. But I could be wrong because one article suggests American Cabaret can be traced to 1911. That was a long time from now but only 3 years from when this song was published. So, this sounds like a novelty tune today but it was taken seriously in 1914. All my babbling about this being nostalgic for 1880 is totally wrong. Gilbert & Sullivan were producing musical comedies in 1880. This song is simply in the style of Ragtime, which was popular in 1914, with Cabaret as a subject, which was also popular in 1914.

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Man in the Van by Oggy Bleacher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.