Monthly Archives: May 2009

party music

I jammed all evening in the garden at Dick & Jane’s party on Friday, and I had a great time.

We had good players, including mandolin, fiddle, and resonator guitar, and IMO we made a crunchy little beat happen. You could tell by the gushy reactions when we got up to leave.

So here’s my plea: hire us! We don’t need amplification, you don’t have to give us money, we’re not going to steal silverware, and we’ll make it a happening little party. It’s easy — just send me driving directions and I’ll do the rest.

remix w/o finance

@atduskgreg has remixed one of the jazz recordings I posted on about a year or so ago. From his tumblr log:

Today, I re-discovered some old loops I’d made from one of Lucas Gonze’s Alvin and Lucille songs and end up working them up into the bones of a song. Next up will be bass and some percussion overdubs, but what you’re hearing here comes entirely from the guitar part for Romance Without Finance.

His mix is a sythetic alien mime with a sexy walk. Pretty much.

Incidentally, the guitar tone on that recording comes from the unique instrument — a 1930s remake of an 1890s parlor axe. That small-bodied style of guitar has a distinctive boingy sound in the bass. No low end thump at all, but lots more wiggly high end than on a modern instrument. Here’s photos:

I need to find a way to cover or remix contemporary internet-based stuff like this without abandoning my premise. It’s good to make my stuff available for other people to remix, but it’s narcissistic to do it without also remixing other people’s music.

I brought this up over on Twitter:

I wish that my own genre of guitar instrumentals had some way for me to make remixes. It’s selfish for me to not do it, not never RTing.

@atduskgreg replied:

you could do covers of other people’s songs. You do that now, but it’s like you’re RTing long dead people.

Obviously I could just become a remixer, but the world already has plenty of those. I’ll make better music by sticking to what I know.

Any ideas? How can acoustic real-time musicians engage with remixers?

Anyhow, as always you are welcome to reuse the Alvin and Lucille recordings in mixes or videos. They’re under a creative commons license, and I’m happy to use just any license that suits you. There are full-resolution AIFFs available. The mixes keep vocals in one track and guitar in another, so that you can demix the parts. I like the music Tequila and I made, and I’d prefer to have it go to good use.

Gleason's Musical Bar

Incidentally, the song that me and Tequilla were playing is “Romance Without Finance,” by the long forgotten minor swing guitarist Tiny Grimes. I owned a cassette of it because Charlie Parker played in Grimes’ band back before Parker got his superpowers. The song has a sly sense of humor and raw rockinness along the lines of Luis Prima. The cassette was a Bird comp, not a Tiny comp, btw. Tiny’s gone gone gone, like a gravestone you can barely read any more.

YouTube magic lantern release ball Thursday aka tomorrow @ Hyperion Tavern

In order to celebrate and mark the most august and celebrated magickalous mysterious movin’ picture I just put up on YouTube of the most august, celebrated, and twisty five-step waltz known as Dodworth’s Five Step Waltz there will be a husking frolic tomorrow night in Silverlake.

Now don’t get Hornswoggled! I swan to mercy, a huckle- berry above anyone’s persimmon. Some pumpkins, a caution, 100 percent certified by a Philadelfy lawyer. If not, dad-blame it, I’ll hang up my fiddle, and you can sass me, knock me into a cocked hat, give me jesse, fix my flint, settle my hash, ride me out on a rail and have a conniption fit, you cussed scalawag!

I’ll allow that George Elias, RootHub, The Artists, and L. Gonze will play all on one stick and in that order, with the Prof. Gonze playing almighty huge last of all at the dark hour of 10:30 after which you can absquatulate all you want. So don’t be a coot and do c’mon out and get slicked up to have a brick in your hat with the g’hals and b’hoys at the Hyperion bucket shop.

Yours All Exfluncticated-like,

L. “soup greens” Gonze

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p.s. I’m not too piss proud to allow that this 19th century slang came from A 19th Century Slang Dictionary Compiled & Edited by Craig Hadley.

from frontier badman to stardom in Hollywood

I asked Jeff Smith, proprietor of Soapy Smith .net and biographer of his great grandfather Soapy, whether there was a connection to LA. Jeff said that Soapy hadn’t been to LA, but Numerous friends and gang members were known to have lived or visited Los Angels:

Of interest might be Wilson Mizner, one of the old Skagway gang members, who in 1929, had become a partner in Hollywood’s Brown Derby restaurant.

School For Scoundrels says this about Mizner:

Wilson MiznerWilson Mizner

He worked as one of Soapy’s lieutenants until Soapy was killed. One of his scams included working as a gold weigher in a dance hall. While balancing the scales, Wilson would spill gold dust onto a carpet. At the end of the week Wilson burned the carpet then extracted the gold from the ashes. In a 1905 interview, Wilson claimed that this trick resulted in a weekly yield of a couple of thousand dollars.

In “Schemers, Scalawags and Scoundrels”, author Stuart B. McIver relates one quasi-comic episode in the Yukon: “In the gold rush days in Nome, Alaska, [Wilson Mizner] put on a black mask, armed himself with a revolver and entered a candy store, shouting, “Your chocolates or your life!” Though the local sheriff knew Wilson was the culprit, there was no arrest. Later he was named as a deputy sheriff!

In 1905, Wilson showed up at a horse show where his brother Addison was ensconced in a pricey box with wealthy widow Mary Adelaide Yerkes. Addison pretended not to see Wilson, but the younger brother charmed his way into the box. Thereafter, Wilson worked speedily. He spent the night with Mrs. Yerkes, reportedly borrowing $10,000 the next morning.

Mizner made his way from frontier Skagway, Alaska to boomtown Hollywood, where (according to Wikipedia) he became…

an American playwright, raconteur, and entrepreneur. His best-known plays are The Deep Purple, produced in 1910, and The Greyhound, produced in 1912. He was manager and co-owner of The Brown Derby restaurant in Los Angeles, California, and was affiliated with his brother, Addison Mizner, in a series of scams and picaresque misadventures that inspired Stephen Sondheim’s Road Show.

Back to Jeff Smith’s comments on Mizner:

He had known Wyatt and Josephine Earp in Alaska, probably Nome. When Earp died on January 13, 1929, in Los Angeles, Mizner was among Wyatt’s pallbearers. Two other Earp gang members were also in Soapy’s gang.

Wyatt EarpWyatt Earp at 21 in 1869.

According to Wikipedia Wyatt Earp was a famous *white* hat, the polar opposite of Soapy Smith, as well as a Gambler, Lawman, Saloon Keeper, Gold/Copper Miner:

He is best known for his participation in the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, along with Doc Holliday, and two of his brothers, Virgil Earp and Morgan Earp. He is also noted for the Earp Vendetta.

Which all goes to show a weird thing that I have discovered via Soapy Smith: there was a direct connection between the old west and early Hollywood. There were people who held up stagecoaches who went on to work on movies. Nuts! No wonder there were so many westerns made.

The Six Gravestones of Soapy Smith

Soapy Smith was a scoundrel, con artist, bunco man, and lowlife of the highest order, so he naturally left quite a lot of bad blood behind when he was shot to death in 1898, and this has taken a harsh toll on the sanctity of his final resting place. Friends of Bad Man Soapy Smith has written a history of Soapy’s six gravestones.

1898 – 1901. Stolen.

1901 (+-)- 1927. Washed out to sea in a flood.

1927 – 1950s. Became target practice for vandalism and gun practice.

Maybe same as above, but protected from target practice. Blown up with dynamite.

1950s -1997. Deterioriated naturally?

1997 – present

Dodworth’s video

Here’s a video of Dodworth’s Five Step Waltz on guitar.

YouTube link:

YouTube embed:

My chops with iMovie are getting better, and I did a little editing for the first time ever for the sake of inserting Ken Burns shots of the sheet music. I don’t know how to sync the sheet music up with the performance, though.

Also, I now know how to edit out mistakes, but I didn’t do that here. Probably I will do it in the future because it makes the music better.

Dodworth’s Five Step Waltz

Dodworth's Five Step Waltz (cover page)

This is an 1877 tune written by Mr. C. Nolf. I learned it from sheet music at

Dodworth was a dance instructor who wrote a book on how to dance. In the book he made up a way to do the waltz in 5/4. C. Nolf wrote this song, which is a waltz in 5/4, so there would be music for people to use with Dodworth’s whacky dance.

I want people to reuse my music in videos, so copyright on this recording is Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 unported. Or pretty much any other license if you can be bothered to email me at to ask.

I left a few little booboos in. They weren’t too bad. With a little editing this could be cleaned up to Playboy standards, so if you need edits to use the music feel free to ask.

Here’s straight up audio files, unencumbered by video:

This song scared the hell out of me when I first found it. The printout sat around for a long time before I got the courage up to try it. But as it turned out the writing has a comfortable and natural flow that carries you right along.