Bill Crow’s Band Room

Volume XCIX, No. 9October, 1999

Bill Crow

Frank Dickinson passed along a Country Music Glossary that he found on the internet. Here are a few definitions:
12-Tone Scale:
what the police weigh your truck with.
the highway that runs around Nashville.
Bach Chorale:
place behind the barn to keep horses.
response to question “what do you hope to catch?”
Big Band:
when the bar pays enough to bring in two banjo players.
Bossa Nova:
your foreman’s car.
Cut Time:
Diminished Fifth:
empty bottle of Jack Daniels.
Perfect Fifth:
a full bottle of Jack Daniels.
Relative Minor
: a girl friend.
Relative Major:
an uncle in the service.
what to do until they just expel you.
There’s one in every family.
how you did all the ceilings in your mobile home.
a good used car.
men wearing dresses.
women ain’t nothin’ but.

Steve Cohen, driving his family to Pittsburgh on a holiday weekend, tuned in a classical music radio station in the middle of a piece of music. He wasn’t sure what it was, but it sounded Russian, late 19th or early 20th century, and he was beginning to lean toward Rachmaninoff as the probable composer. Meanwhile, in the back seat, his sons Charlie (ten) and Eliot (six) were animatedly discussing Sesame Place, an amusement park in Bucks County. Their subject was the Rubber Ducky Rapids Ride, and who was or wasn’t scared to go on it. When the orchestra on the radio reached a phrase that Steve recognized, he called out to his wife Andrea, “I know what it is! Isle of the Dead!” At which Charlie asked, “Is that the new ride this year?”

Marshall McDonald e-mailed this one to Drake Smith, who forwarded it to me: A musician who had spent many years trying to break into the big time was feeling very depressed. Every record company in the business had turned him down. Seeking a perverse revenge, he booked a recording studio and told the engineer to record exactly what he would say, then copy it onto a thousand compact discs and send them to all the recording executives in the country.

In the vocal booth, when the red light came on, he ranted, “This is a message to all you sycophantic, talentless bastards who have ignored me all these years. I dedicated my life to writing beautiful, emotive, soul-touching music – and all you idiots do is bin my tapes and sign pretty-boy bands and the Spice Girls. Well, I’ve taken all I can of your puerile, shallow industry, and it’s you who’ve driven me to it! Goodbye, murderers of art!” With that, he pulled out a gun and blew out his brains. The sound engineer glanced up and said, “Yep . . . okay . . . that’s fine for level. Want to go for a take?”

I sometimes play with Harry Glogower’s big band up in Rockland County. He calls it the Big Band Swing Machine, but Eric Lawrence tells me that the local newspaper once carried an ad listing it as the “Big Band Sewing Machine.”

Quite a few years ago, after completing a course in small boat handling, Ken Arzberger couldn’t wait to try out some nautical language on his friends. Spotting Frank Socolow on the old Union Floor, he invited him to go on a fishing trip. Frank asked cautiously, “You going out in the ocean?” Frank nodded. “You got a compass?” Frank replied, “The compass is in the wheelhouse, in a binnacle.” “Oh, that’s different!” exclaimed Frank with relief. “Count me in. I dig anything that’s rabbinical.”

And at the old Spotlite Bar on Broadway, Arzberger saw owner Joe Harbor look out the window and spot Merv Gold coming up the street. Joe hurried over to the door and, as Merv walked in, held out his hand and asked, “Merv, you got something for me?” “Yeah, Joe,” Merv replied, “here’s the bread I owe you.” With that, Merv opened his wallet, took out a slice of Wonder bread and placed it in Joe’s outstretched hand.

As he was parking his car on a side street before his show recently, Jack Gale’s radiator hose blew. He told his pit mates at Miss Saigon about the problem, and after the show John Hahn and John Arbo accompanied him back to the car to see if they could help out. They peered under the hood and determined that the car could be fixed on the spot. Meanwhile several attractive young ladies walked by. They were attracted to a fancy motorcycle that was parked just in front of Jack’s car. One of them sat on the bike and asked John Hahn if it was his. When he said it wasn’t, they admired it a bit longer and then went on their way. Michael Hinton, who was to ride home with Jack, watched the whole scene and as the two Johns fixed the leak he commented admiringly about the ease and speed with which they effected the repair. When the job was done Michael said, “Boy, I’ve really learned something from this. I should get a motorcycle!”