From the Culture of Commentary

This story from oft-commenting jwgh:

Every Tuesday there's a poetry open mike sort of thing at a local coffee shop, and the last Tuesday of every month it's a musical poetry open mike where a bass player accompanies the poets and singer/songwriters are also welcome. I've been a few times, and it's always been interesting and fun. (The first time I met a tall transsexual woman who I think might be named Genevieve (unless I'm thinking of someone else) who then subsequently came to my knitting group a few times.)

One nice thing about it from my perspective is that in general the people there are poets first and, at most, musicians second, so I have the unfamiliar sensation of being the best musician in the room. As such the audience is extra appreciative.

I decided I was in the mood to do a song I didn't write for once, so I got up to the mike and said, "I've played here a couple of times before, and both times I did original stuff, but if it's OK I'd like to do a song by Andy Breckman." A couple of people in the crowd cheered, and Genevieve (if that's her name) shouted out, "Railroad Bill?"

Railroad Bill it was. I thought that crowd would like it because it's about writing, more or less, and man was I right -- people laughed themselves silly. All praise to Andy Breckman!

After I did my song Genevieve came over to tell me that she enjoyed my performance of the song and said that she knew Andy when he was still a struggling folkie in New York -- it turns out that she used to be a bouncer at the (I think she said) Folk Palace where he used to play. We talked a little about his music, agreeing that his songs are clever and funny, and then the next act went up and the conversation ended.

And that's about where the story ends, too. Well, anyway.


jwgh said...

It occurs to me that I didn't say where all this took place. The coffee shop in question in in Providence, RI.

EclecticMuzikMan said...

As Andy would say, this story has something for everyone.

Didn't realize Mr. Breckman's song catalogue was so well known...

Joe said...

I think the chords for Railroad Bill appeared in an old issue of Acoustic Guitar

are any chords out there for any of Andys songs? Don't get killed? Rabbi Finkelman?

"My muse has moved to Pittsburgh now he runs a liquor store" - from "All the good songs have been sung"

bob said...

Andy sounds fantastic today! Must be taking vitamins or something.

Joe said...

VERY good show
I think a lot of people just tuning in for the first time must've been absolutely baffled though, what with the references to the transcribed show ("Toy boat toy boat toy boat") and the slow/fast moving zombies controversy!

Cynthia said...

Why Manhattan for the hobnob remote shows? Suddenly too good for Jersey City are we! Too good for Hoboken are we! Both are quite accessible by train. Wasnt' it a schlep for you last time? If people worked human hours instead of trying to impress their ingrate coprorate kow-tow to bosses they'd have time to arrive by six. But noooooo...we have to broadcast from "Manhattan!" (sulk)
Come to thnk of it...your remote would be one of the few worthwhile things left on the island. But NJ is more deserving. Of course you can take that a number of ways... but I mean it nicely- toward you and my beloved home on the palisades!

Anonymous said...

NJ is more deserving...

Hasn't New Jersey suffered enough? I'm sure one could spent a day at traffic lights near the Holland Tunnel "collecting" money for a path ticket. Show some ambition!

Joe said...

I think broadcasting from the roof of WFMU would be fun - rather like the Tour video when Ken & Andy are joking about the end of Let It Be

If its gonna be Jersey, why not just a mall? Like the abandoned Bergen Mall

Central Park would be fun though, or Washington Square Park - undoubtedly you'd have to get permission to do the show from Sheeps Meadow though, you'd not just SHOW UP!!

Patterson said...

"Suddenly too good for Jersey City are we! Too good for Hoboken are we!"


Ken said...

We did a live show in Manhattan and 50 people showed up. I'm just worried that if we did it in Hoboken or JC, only 15 people would show up.

Anonymous said...

maybe Maxwells

jwgh said...

When I looked for lyrics to Andy's songs a few years ago the lyrics websites generally said that the lyrics had been removed from the sites at the request of the copyright holder. The ones I learned ('Railroad Bill', 'Passing Trains', and 'Pollution is a Bad Thing') are mostly pretty simple though.

Joe said...

Don't get killed
Don't get killed
Keep your head down
Don't get killed

jwgh said...

The plot thickens! I just got this message on myspace:

"Jacob, I saw you at the poetry reading at Reflections the other night. Would you share the chords to Railroad Bill? I want to sing it at my wedding."

Incidentally, the woman who used to know Andy identified "I Don't Want To Mow The Lawn" as a particular favorite.

Joe said...

I personally prefer "The World Is Coming to an End" - Andys contribution to Big League Babe, the tribute to Christine Lavin, Andys compatriot from Folk City:

"You got a big dick for the dance
Now you got a big hole in your pants
The world is coming to an end
The world is coming to an end."

I'm not being sarcastic

lil'boo said...

Hey, if you want to see/hear Andy perform three of his songs... check out:

Raj said...

Thanks, lil' boo. But...

(Ahhh, I feel awkward throwing in this mention)

(down in the bottom.)

Anonymous said...

Absolutely delightful
I had not seen this
The audience really loves him, like on the Don't Get Killed album

I like when hes moving the chair about

Does Andy still play out? Last gig he played was the the late lamented Bottom Line nightclub on W4th