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Bebop Spoken There

Vadim Neselovskyi, Professor of Jazz Piano, Berklee College of Music: “Every pianist has to deal with a very complex left-hand part at some point. This is the essential pianistic experience – to split your brain into two halves and execute two very different tasks at the same time.” – (Down Beat September 2017).

Roscoe Mitchell: “To me, improvisation is trying to improve your skills so you can make these on-point compositional decisions. That takes practice.” – (Down Beat September 2017)

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Today Monday September 25

Afternoon.
Jazz in the Afternoon - Crescent Club, 1 Hudleston, Cullercoats NE30 3OS. 1pm. Free.
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Classic Swing - Marquis of Granby, Streetgate, Sunniside NE16 5ES. 0191 4880954. 1pm. Free. New mainstream gig w. Bob Wade (trumpet); Olive Rudd (vocal) and other familiar faces.
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Alastair Lord (trumpet) & Kris Thomsett (organ) - St. Nicholas Cathedral, St. Nicholas Square, Newcastle NE1 1PF. 1:05. Free (retiring collection).
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Evening.
?????
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To the best of our knowledge, details of the above events are correct but may be subject to alteration.

Saturday, September 03, 2016

Gee Baby, Ain’t I Good To You – A Love Song?

Love makes me treat you the way that I do
Gee baby, ain’t  I good to you
There’s nothin’ too good for a girl that’s so true
Gee baby, ain’t  I good to you
Bought you a fur coat for Christmas, a diamond ring
A Cadillac car, and everything
Love makes me treat you the way that I do
Gee baby, ain’t I good to you.
(lyrics Don Redman and Andy Razaf;  music Don Redman)

I’m prompted to write about this set of lyrics after having a conversation with a colleague from Indigo Jazz Voices, who said that she considered this to be a love song. I did too, until I examined the words. The giver of the gifts shows up his true motives in the self-congratulatory line ‘Gee baby, ain’t I good to you’. Is he a sugar Daddy, expecting utter praise and devotion in return? Or maybe just a very demanding younger lover?  The gifts listed, fur coat etc are over the top.  It is as if the lover was trying to ‘buy’ the girl. ‘and everything’ emphasises this, although this may have been a chance rhyme to go with ‘ring’, who knows? ‘Love makes me treat you the way that I do’ is highly ironic, as the lover’s motive is not love at all.
What happens if you substitute ‘boy’ instead of ‘girl’ in the line ‘There’s nothing too good for a boy that’s so true?’ Interesting, and feasible in these days when some women earn more than men. Is she trying to bully him into marriage with the diamond ring? Is the ring necessarily an engagement ring? Am I reading far too much into what appears, at first sight, to be a straightforward lyric?
The song is a fascinating challenge to sing, trying to get the ‘sleazy’ feel across.  I sometimes add bits at the end, such as ‘cos I say so’, but maybe that is a cop out, as the original words should speak for themselves. It’s a great song to sing, especially with a 12/8 bluesy feel.  I like to think of the Blues as sadness with attitude.
I’d love to read about how other people interpret this song on BSH.
Ann Alex

4 comments :

  1. I remember the lovely Pete Gascoigne singing this...x

    ReplyDelete
  2. I found a couple of Cherry B's and a packet of Cheese and Onion crisps to be more cost effective but, maybe I was operating in a different league!

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  3. Denys loved this number, I find it hard to fathom, is he questioning her love for him now that he has showered her with these goodies? Maybe she has given him the brush off...who knows? still a good song, and yes Lance, whatever it took in those far off days eh?

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  4. In the original words as sung by Don Redman, it's a "Packard Coupe" (pron. coop), not a Caddie........... I read somewhere that this song and others composed and recorded by Redman in 1929, such as "The Way I Feel Today", and "Miss Hannah" were the result of his unrequited love for the said Miss Hannah, so perhaps it WAS meant as a love song, rather than the song of a demanding sugar daddy?

    ReplyDelete

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About this blog - contact details.

Bebop Spoken Here -- Here, being the north-east of England -- centred in the blues heartland of Newcastle and reaching down to the Tees Delta and looking upwards to the Land of the Kilt.
Not a very original title, I know; not even an accurate one as my taste, whilst centred around the music of Bird and Diz, extends in many directions and I listen to everything from King Oliver to Chick Corea and beyond. Not forgetting the Great American Songbook the contents of which has provided the inspiration for much great jazz and quality popular singing for round about a century.
The idea of this blog is for you to share your thoughts and pass on your comments on discs, gigs, jazz - music in general. If you've been to a gig/concert or heard a CD that knocked you sideways please share your views with us. Tell us about your favourites, your memories, your dislikes.
Lance (Who wishes it to be known that he is not responsible for postings other than his own and that he's not always responsible for them.)
Contact: lanceliddle@gmail.com I look forward to hearing from you.

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