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Coffee House Players


Coffee House Players

A place to talk about your gigs and your song list and what ever else you want to talk aboout

Members: 179
Latest Activity: on Tuesday

Discussion Forum

From Coffee house to Pandora

Started by Lon Milo DuQuette Sep 14, 2013.

Pictures, and even videos, of great venues we've played! 3 Replies

Started by Edward Sparks. Last reply by Jud Hair May 28, 2013.

Gig length, set list, originals vs. covers, etc. 15 Replies

Started by Jason Derrick. Last reply by Phil Manuel May 28, 2013.

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Comment by Joseph Anthony Zarola on January 19, 2014 at 1:24pm

Sounds real Gus.  

Your originality has you "covered"…

Comment by Jim Yates on January 19, 2014 at 12:54pm

I play in The Maple Leaf Champions Jug Band and our CD contains 10 songs.  Three of them are originals and the rest are traditional songs like Fan It, Blues In The Bottle, Wild About My Loving...learned from old time string bands, blues singers or jug bands.  Our live shows have about the same ratio of original to trad songs.  Some of the songs we do in our live shows still are under copyright.  We do some Cheap Suit Serenaders' songs, old pop songs like Ukulele Lady and Sweet Georgia Brown and some written by friends of ours.  I still don't like the word "cover" and don't use it.  Thank goodness none of our reviews have called us a cover band. 

We might say,"We're gonna play you a Gus Cannon song," but never, "We're gonna play you a cover of a Gus Cannon song." 

While our songs are done in the spirit of the early jug bands, we do our own versions and don't try to copy them.

Comment by Joseph Anthony Zarola on January 19, 2014 at 11:57am

Interesting read here.

I used to worry about the cover presentations, until recently.

I decided to go on a cruise-ship instead of performing at local venues.

The local music scene here in East Tennessee has become very narrow, so I have decided not to complicate my life, or music with anything more to worry about with cover presentations.

I have been playing Dinner theaters and local theater shows as a solo-guitarist for many years, but for very few dollars… but the economy has changed in the last few years, enough that I want, and need to make a few extra bucks in my retirement.

My partner played Sax for Frank Sinatra for 22 years, then 5 years on Broadway, and we are both happy with the knowledge that our covers are a personal interpretation…the artistry we employ is what makes us happy as musicians. The patrons know these songs, and they like the recognizable, but different stylizations we add to the performances…The pay on these ships is good., and for $7.50 a week, I get all my laundry done, along with meals, and a work-out room included.

Cruise ship covers are everywhere, but mostly from the 50's, 60' and 70's, and the patrons are glad to be where there is quality live music from their eras….and sometimes they sing with us..

The only drawback is that if you are married to a non-performer, and she can't go with you, you will be alone under the covers…

  "Happy is what happy does".

I speak from the perspective of a semi-retired guitarist.

Comment by Terry Angelli on January 19, 2014 at 11:40am
Going to throw my $0.02 here. Bands or performers who do letter perfect performances of a song today are referred to as tribute bands. Everyone else covers songs. I like a few others here am incapable of delivering letter perfect renditions of any artists songs. Either I can't hit the notes vocally or can't play the guitar parts exactly. In my band we don't even try to be letter perfect. How are you going to produce horns or keys with a 4 piece band? So we do close interpretations and do adhere to specific signature lines. For example the Rolling Stone "Satisfaction" is not going to be recognized with out the signature riff. Unless you twist it inside out and make your own version.

John Batdorf & James Lee Stanley did exactly that with the release of the album "All wood & Stone". They "cover" 12 Stones songs and dispense with signature riffs. Check out the samples on this CD baby page:

If you're a Stones fan you will probably dig it as much as I did. I've even learned how to play three of their versions.
Comment by Edward Sparks on January 19, 2014 at 8:48am

I am in an acoustic duo and we "cover" lots of songs...but always in our own style...everything from Peter Gabrial to Beatles to CSNY, James Taylor, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Cat Stevens, America, Stephen Bishop, Van Morrison and on and on...we also switch up instruments, like acoustic 6 and 12 guitars, mandolin, harmonica, bass ad even a midi guitar for piano stuff!  The key is keeping it varied for your own sake and the audience's!

Comment by George Quinn on January 15, 2014 at 7:24am

A "cover' band is one that's known for sounding like the original. There's a Steely Dan concert DVD where they're in the limo on the way to the gig and commenting (favorably) on a couple of bands that "cover" their music.  So "cover" is actually is "copy".  You only have to use your imagination when doing a cover of a song that fades out (SNL's way of ending skits).

A friend of mine and I are working on a set of Beatles songs that have either turned 50 or will turn 50 in 2014.  For example, we'll cover "Till There Was You" and "Things We Said Today" but do our versions of "All My Lovin" and "Every Little Thing". The Beatles' first album of all original songs was their fourth, "A Hard Days Night" (we're talking Parlophone here, not Capitol). About a third or more of each previous release was outside material, like "Till There Way You."

When the average length of a song in your repertoire is 2 minutes and 38 seconds, you're going to need more material.

Comment by Michael McBride on January 14, 2014 at 8:59pm

Yes, well, I see your point, Jim. But isn't that just how laypeople remember the songs they know and love? I mean, half the popular performers in any generation are singing someone else's songs, wouldn't you agree? Probably more than half, really. I do like Jud H's usage of "interpretations" rather than "covers." That's how I introduce half of the songs I perform. I don't want anyone thinking they're gonna get a carbon copy of their favorite Neil Young song outta me. (Can't reach the high notes.) ;^]

Comment by Jim Yates on January 14, 2014 at 8:48pm


   That might be a reasonable way of using it, but on Youtube you will see people saying, "This is my cover of Frank Sinatra's My Way" or "Roberta Flack's First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" when the people getting the royalties for writing the songs are Paul Anka and Ewen MacColl.  Frank and Roberta just happened to be people who sang the songs.

Comment by Michael McBride on January 14, 2014 at 7:35pm
I get what you're saying about "covers" being dispensed as a skim milk pejorative. But I thought the word generally referred to when BMI required a payment from a performer for performing another artist's work.
Comment by Jud Hair on January 14, 2014 at 5:23pm

Jim ... When I perform songs written/performed by others,  I prefer to call what I do "interpretations", because even if I desired to recreate the song exactly, I'm not capable, so what results is generally my own somewhat unique interpretation.


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