I have been learning songs based solely on my tastes which for whatever reason tend to be obscure, I would like to start learning some more popular songs to play at the Jams because often I am the only one there who knows some of the stuff I play. What are your top 10 jam songs you think are good to know?
It's always difficult to set a limit on choices, but here's a quick pick of 5 two steps and 5 waltzes.
J'ai Ete Au Bal
Johnny Can't Dance
Allons A Lafayette
99-Year Waltz (Convict Waltz)
J'ai Passe Devant Ta Porte
Chere Tout Tout
This is what happens when you show up at a jam and play obscure songs such as the Waxia Special given to you on an instruction video courtesy of Steve Riley. You practice the hell out of it with all your heart and soul because it's unique and different. You get to the jam with the joy and glee of knowing the waxia special and you're ready to show it to the world! Your turn to play eventually comes up and you're ready to woe all of the jammers with you're Waxia! You play it for your first song. And BAM! Nobody knows what the hell you're playing. Just listen to those fiddlers. They're playing everything but the Waxia special.
By the way Nedro, that was a good list. You can't go wrong with those songs. I just wish there were more, but unfortunately, we just can't bring ourselves to think of more on the spur of the moment in the stressful atmosphere of a Cajun music jam session.
Wouldn't it be very helpful at a jam session if you, the accordion player, could call the key of the song, and tell the guitar players every chord they will need to play and in what order? Wouldn't it be nice if you could say to the fiddlers, I'm going to play this song in this key, and you will be playing on your two middle strings mostly and you will be using the droning method. The small string will be played periodically. The best tuning for this particular song is FCGC instead of FCGD. It's a two step. Listen to it, I'll play a short section of both the turn and the melody. When I'm done, and y'all think y'all got it, then and only then, will we attempt to play the got dam song together! Because I'm not here to "jam". I'm here to actually play good music done in a way that we will all come away from this feeling good about it and having learned more because of it. In other words, I don't want to leave this jam, go home and throw my accordion in the attack never to be played again, then go to the bathroom, force myself to vomit and take 20 scalding hot showers in a row to get the dirty feeling off of me that I got from this got dam jam session!
Or, in the case of the "Waxia Special". It is a two step where the two parts of the song are done in two different keys. There is no melody or a turn because the two parts are interchangeable as the A part and the B part. Either one can be played first or last. The important part is that one part is done in the key of "G" and the other part is done in the key of "C". Now the big question is, what tuning on the fiddle can fit such a situation. You had better hope that there are fiddle players at that jam that not only know what the hell they're doing, but are also familiar with such an obscure and convoluted song!
Maybe do a little homework before the jam session. Attend the jam sessions as a non musician and pay attention to what's going on. Then, when you do finally bring your instrument, don't rush into taking 1st chair and making a fool out of yourself. Play your instrument quietly and pay attention to what the better musicians are doing. Talk to them about it and learn. That is if they even know themselves how to explain it to you. Chances are, very few of them will be able to explain anything, but they'll be able to show you and try to coax you into learning what they're showing you by ear.
And Greezy, I see you "spelt" out, lol, the word attack. Did you mean attic? Or in your case "attack" may be the more fitting word of choice. I did get the point though. You sure hammered it in there. Not with a claw hammer, but with a 9 pound sledge.
It is my humble opinion that Cajun jam sessions should be done in the following way and with only the "C" accordion. And with a master Cajun musician available to make the calls needed or approve of any obscure songs before they are jumped into without having been given careful thought.
1st half, only songs in the keys of "C" or "F" should be played. Fiddle tuning #1.
2nd half, only songs in the keys of "G" or "D" should be played. Fiddle tuning #2.
Guitar tuning stays the same and no kapo or capo is needed. Only some hard fingertips and knowledge and good muscle finger memory of the 6 or 7 basic guitar chords.
I go to a jam Wednesday Friday Saturday and Sunday of every week and pay a lot of attention, That’s not the issue. It’s more what I practice at home, and I rarely know the name of the songs at the jams to find the records although I recognize the melodies and chords easily. I have had this work to my Favor though as when I played the Two Step De Mama everyone was super impressed and I had no idea why until a few weeks later when I found out most people there thought I improvised those lyrics to my Lacassine Special on the fly. I don’t wanna be asking what was that one between every song,
Also the reason for me learning the songs I chose wasn’t just random. I have been trying to learn the earliest recorded songs first because I want to understand how the music developed which is something I need to know. The jams are a more surface level experience so my goal there is different, basically just to play with others and have fun.
The way I see it, I need to be fluent in Les Blues des Petit Chien before I learn Pine Grove Blues etc...
where are these jams you are going to?
Wednesday’s Blue Moon, Friday Begnaud House, Saturday Vermillionville, and Sunday I go to Bayou Teche Brewery...I am hoping to make it to Tom’s Fiddle and Bow though soon.
What’s your top ten songs for the jams? I don’t care about your theories, just your top ten songs
Madame Soustan, Saturday Night waltz, Grand Prarie Waltz, La Valse de Bayou Lafourche and not the Balfa Tout Jour's made up song, La Chemin Qui T'a Pris
Diggy Liggy La, Pauve Hobo, Chere Bébé, Eunice Two Step, Madeline
I started not to give you my list because of your snide remark about my "theory" you should have given Greezy and Blue one the same I might add the same **** advice
The comment is directed at everyone reading the post, Blue in particular.
It doesn't take long before somebody has their nose outta joint. Love this forum.
Funny you included that line while asking me for my list, you shouldn't have taken the short cut and included it while addressing me. Mr Guy you seem to be suffering from the illness you described.
funny you and Mr Guy didn't comment on my list of songs.
I wasn’t asking you for your list I was asking anybody reading the post. It was directed at any future poster to get it back on topic. No where in that post did I mention your name. I was using the word you in the plural sense.
Your question followed my post you started this ******* by asking for songs. You only had to ask once. Not only are you having problems playing the right songs you are having a problem communicating
Obviously I needed to ask again because only one person actually answered the question posed, If you are going to feel some kind of way about it or feel personally attacked that’s for you to figure out and work through. It’s got nothing to do with me.
1. McGill makes good points, however, Greezy and the Blue Max are the same person, so he is essentially just talking to himself.
2. Jerry, Josue was not talking to you with that "theory" line, if anything, he was talking to Greezy/Max. Chill out. Just because his comment followed yours doesn't mean he meant it for you.
3. Every Jam I have ever been too, "La Porte En Arrière" is played, because usually it's one of the first songs a beginner learns to play nowadays, and most everyone knows it.
4. Qui est pret pour le Mardi Gras? I know I am! Et la bouteille est bue! Tout à l'entour du fond d’hiver!
Hey Joe Sue, I understand your frustration with having to come up with 10 songs or so to have ready for your jam sessions. In your case, you're attending 3-4 different jam session per week. Do you keep playing the same 10 songs or do you learn 40 songs?
You don't want to hear theories and such, you only want a list of songs. That's just what I figured. Another accordion player wanting instant results without having to pay the price of patience.
Figure out your own got dam list. The other thing is, you didn't go back and read. Not long ago on this forum I opened up a playlist to the whole got dam world. On that playlist there are currently 137 different videos and versions of Cajun songs with what key accordion is being played, and the which key of that accordion is being used to play the song. I'm even starting to add which fiddle tunings are best to use for each song. I figure you can go and do the work yourself and find out how to get to that list and pick your got dam list of songs from it.
4 jam sessions a week man? That is almost to the point of sickness. Don't you have to work for a living?
I'm not being mean to you, I'm only trying to steer you into a point of view that may serve you more better.
Oh, and D-wag, why you hatin? I don't like the idea that you say that I'm only talking to myself and no one is listening. That is very hurtful that you would say such a thing. Is that your complete understanding of my efforts? That I am some crazy guy that mutters nonsense only to myself? That anything I say or type is useless to anyone else?
Greezy, I did not say that at all; you always have great topics and source knowledge...which confuses me as to why you use so many different personalities. It's kind of off-putting for me to see you hold conversations with yourself. We all know that you are The Blue Max and 33rd degree Master Musician...you're not fooling anyone (well, your not fooling me, anyway) so I find it very odd that you feel the need to pretend to be different people. But, like I said, you are one knowledgeable dude when it comes to Cajun culture and music.
Greezy, I apologize, please don't let my smart-ass remarks discourage you from posting.
Ok D. Thank you for that. I must have read your comments using my combative personality yesterday. To you too Joesu'(can you tell us how to pronounce your name). I may have come off pretty hard on you as well. For that, I also apologize to you both. I'll be the first to admit that I do have multi personalities. They all serve me well depending on the situation LOL.
D-wag, an explanation of the different personalities....they are stick figures. Don't ever forget that. If you ever meet us in person, they will hide themselves but, the attentive person might be able to detect them within us. We use them due to the nature of the internet. If we were to use our real names identifying our person or persons, with all the controversial things we tend to say, the guilt and worry of the judgment upon our persons would be too much. We already tried it and it did not go well. Ok, I will go back to speaking in the singular now. This multi personality talk is starting to freak me out too.
Joesu', I used to attend jam sessions myself. The older players that I knew personally, never carried a written song list. They didn't carry a song book either. They played the songs that they felt they wanted to play or they'd play the songs that someone at the jam would request. Sometimes, the fiddle players would start a song and the old accordion players would either pick it up or not play along at all. Sometimes, some other accordion player at the jam would pick it up instead. As time goes by, the well practiced accordion player will be able to pick up on just about any song and pull it off as if he knows it provided the song being played is within the keys that his accordion, and he himself, the accordion player is capable of playing. You really need to communicate with the fiddle players at them jam sessions. Get their input and find out which key they prefer playing in according to how they have their fiddle tuned. Then, with time, you practice playing songs on your accordion on those keys. You do realize that a fiddle player (and guitar players too) prefer certain key songs when he or she is playing fiddle or guitar? Just like accordion players prefer playing in either "C" or "G" on the "C" accordion. Let these hidden facts guide you and your list making.
The list isn't so much to carry to the Jams, it's for home practice and learning the lyrics and finding them on records. If 4 people would give 10 songs, that's 40 new songs to practice the lyrics etc...
I'm glad no one included La Porte En Arriere in their list. Used to love that song and now can only listen to the original.
My short list that I'd play at any jam and most fiddlers should know.
One Step de Chameaux
Port Aurthur Blues