Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Stray Cat Strut

Stray Cat Strut
Stray Cats, Built For Speed
Stray Cat Strut

Lyrics and Arrangement
(harmon parts in italics)

Intro - instruments

Harmony 1

Oooh, Oooh, Oooh, Oooh, (x 4)

Verse 1
Black and orange stray cat sittin' on a fence
Ain't got enough dough to pay the rent
I'm flat broke but I don't care
I strut right by with my tail in the air

Stray cat strut, I'm a ladies' cat,
A feline Casanova, hey! man, thats that.
Get a shoe thrown at me from a mean old man
Get my dinner from a garbage can

Yeah don't cross my path

Guitar Solo

Bridge 2
I don't bother chasing mice around, whoa no!
I slink down the alley looking for a fight
Howling to the moonlight on a hot summer night

Harmony 2
Singin' the blues while the lady cats cry,
  Oooh, Oooh, Oooh, Oooh, (background)
"Wild stray cat, you're a real gone guy."

  Oooh, Oooh, Oooh, Oooh, (background)

I wish I could be as carefree and wild,

  Oooh, Oooh, Oooh, Oooh, (background)

but I got cat class and I got cat style.

Guitar Break, extended

Bridge 3
I don't bother chasing mice around
I slink down the alley looking for a fight
Howling to the moonlight on a hot summer night

Harmony 2
Singin' the blues while the lady cats cry,
  Oooh, Oooh, Oooh, Oooh, (background)
"Wild stray cat, you're a real gone guy."
  Oooh, Oooh, Oooh, Oooh, (background)
I wish I could be as carefree and wild,
  Oooh, Oooh, Oooh, Oooh, (background)
but I got cat class and I got cat style.


How To Play

Chord Chart from 

[I haven't checked this yet - Neil]

This is the basic progression: Cm  Bb  Ab  G7

                            Stray Cat Strut
         The Stray Cats

|Cm    Bb    |Ab    G7   | cont.     |          |
 Oooh                      Oooh

Cm               Bb        Ab           G7
Black and orange stray cat sittin' on a fence.

Cm          Bb            Ab      G7
Ain't got enough dough to pay the rent.

Cm       Bb        Ab      G7        G7 (tacet)
I'm flat broke but I don't care,   I strut right by with my tail in the air.

Fm        Eb          Db     C7         Fm         Eb       Db         C7
Stray cat strut I'm a ladies cat, I'm a feline Casanova hey man that's that.

      Fm          Eb           Db       C7    Fm (tacet)
Get a shoe thrown at me from a mean old man.  Get my dinner from a garbage can.

Cm   Bb | Ab   G7|Cm(tacet)|     |

Verse 2
Fm             Fm7               Cm    Fm
I don't bother chasing mice around.  I slink down the alley looking for a fight

 D7                           G7                 Cm             Bb
howlin' to the moonlight on a hot summer night.  Singin' the blues while the

Ab        G7      Cm       Bb           Ab        G7      Cm           Bb
lady cats cry.  Wild stray cat you're a real gone guy.  I wish I could be as

Ab            G7           Cm(tacet)
care-free and wild,  but I got cat class and I got cat style.

|Cm  Bb  |Ab  G7  | etc.

repeat verse 2

|Cm  Bb  |Ab  G7  |Cm (tacet)                       Cm

From uunet!psinntp!isc-newsserver!!WHC2993 Wed Aug 12 18:40:46 PDT 1992
Article: 1508 of
Subject: Stray Cat Strut
Message-ID: <1992aug12 .141132.4195=".141132.4195""">
Sender: (USENET News System)
Organization: Rochester Institute of Technology
Date: Wed, 12 Aug 1992 14:11:32 GMT
Lines: 66

this is a good one.  I play it for my cat all the time.  Crank up the reverb
and play it clean.  Some of you might want to sing Strat Cat Strut.
could someone send this to Nevada FTP?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Spotify: making music fun again

Spotify Logo
Visit Spotify

Spotify has changed my relationship with music, in a way that's as significant as the introduction of the MP3 player did. Back in the day, when you learned about new music, new artists on the radio, and the recommendation of friends, I had fun listening to music, finding new artists. But radio has become more and more homogenized, as the quirky independent local stations that mixed up intriguing playlists, and participated actively in the local music scene, were gobbled up, one by one, by the nationals, big monsters like ClearChannel, that programmed the playlists from the corporate mothership. I started to lose interest in finding new music, and became tired of hearing the same songs played over and over again. Even the new music of that time, rap and hip-hop, seemed to be rifling through bins of old vinyl, reusing the best riffs from the old stuff, often looping the samples in mind-numbing monotony. Some of these rap tunes were little sonic metaphors for the entire music industry, it seemed, the same stuff, repackaged, played over and over again, until any spirit of originality and excitement was stripped out by sheer repetition.

Don't get me wrong -- there's lots of great rap and hip-hop, and I love it, and it was all very fresh and exciting when it first came out. But like every other musical genre before and since that attracted a large audience and the corresponding piles of cash, rap was milked and exploited until it became a shallow parody of itself. Plus, it was a genre that was based, in large part, on literally lifting snippets from existing recordings to reuse in the songs. Now, music has always reused material, riffs, ideas, and themes, and artists have covered, remixed, and redone songs from the past. But when musicians have to play the music, by learning the chords and the licks, instead of just playing back a recording, something happens: each musician puts their own unique stamp on the music, their own unique interpretation. That doesn't mean you can't do the same thing when you splice together a track using pre-recorded bits and pieces from other songs -- it's just much harder. It just makes what the rappers and DJs who have done this and made something new and original all the more impressive. But it's also rare.

iPod 5th Generation white. 日本語: 第5世代 iPod(白)。
iPod 5th Generation white. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
When the MP3 player came out, ultimately reaching its apotheosis in the scroll wheel iPod, something interesting happened, for the first time in a long time: suddenly you became the DJ, or the remixer. You could take your library of music, and fit most of it on your iPod, and reorder and tweak and shuffle the music, in ways that just weren't possible before. You weren't stuck to the old model of the album, where you had to listen to the same songs in the same order, or the radio playlist, where you had to listen to the music someone else wanted you to hear. Instead, you could make your own playlist, or if you were feeling adventurous, you could just set the thing on shuffle and see what came up.

Also, let's be honest: it was easy to download tunes to your library from, let's say, "unauthorized" sources; or to rip CDs from your friend's library, especially if you were kind enough to trade. Obviously, no one got paid when that happened. I never felt any pity for the record companies, who have been screwing artists and fans from the start, and continue to this day, but musicians should be paid for their work. Once I started making enough money to cover rent and have a little left over at the end of the month, I stopped stealing and bought my music through iTunes.

It's too bad the music industry didn't realize this sooner, or maybe they could have made some cash, instead of losing as much as they did by pursing fans with lawsuits and other heavy handed tactics. iTunes was great because so much music was available in one place, instantly. Also, the iTunes Store lets you browse related songs and artists, and listen to snippets -- try before you buy. You can see what everyone else is listening to, what's hot, or find that song that you loved back in high school. There's iTunes radio, and instead of being stuck with the handful of local stations in your broadcast area, you could listen to hundreds of different stations, from around the world.

After that, services like Pandora took the radio idea and improved on it, using the same kind of recommendation engine that Amazon or Netflix uses to find other stuff you might like. Apple's "Genius" feature brought something similar to iTunes, but Pandora showed us that it was pretty cool to access a huge library of music without having to pay for every single track. Again, as with the introduction of Shuffle on the iPod, music became even more surprising and interesting.

Spotify takes us to the next logical step: you can actually select the music you want to listen to, instead of having to listen to what someone else thinks you might like. Plus, you can check out what your friends are listening to, in a way that's smoothly integrated into the app, not tacked on like iTunes' ill-fated Ping. Spotify connected with Facebook very early, tapping into another social network of like minded fans.

There are so many ways to explore music in Spotify. When you are listening to a song, you can call up the rest of the tracks on the album, or all of the tracks by that artist. Or, you are one click away from hearing related artists. If you are feeling lucky, you can start your own radio station based on what you like or what you listen to, just like Pandora.

But best of all, it's free to try, on your computer, if you don't mind the ads. If you want to pay $5 or $10 a month, you can make the ads go away, and even listen to any track you want on your favorite mobile device. If you make a playlist (just like iTunes, except your music library is literally every song you can think of) you can even download it so you can play it back on the go without having to stream the music on the fly. And since you are paying a modest amount per month for this service, artists can get paid for their work again, despite the scuttlebutt to the contrary.

Has Spotify finally come up with a model for listening to music that fans enjoy, and also pays the artists? Leave a comment below and tell me what you think.

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Monday, October 15, 2012

Keeping time any time

Here's a simple exercise that you can do with your metronome that will make you a much better musician by improving your timing. I try to do this every day, even if only for a few minutes. Since I have a metronome app on my smartphone, I can do this anywhere.

  1. Set your metronome for a comfortable tempo (not too fast or slow)
  2. Turn it on so it starts to click.
  3. When you feel that you have locked on the beat, clap in time to the metronome .
  4. f you are exactly in time with the metronome, the clicking of the metronome will seem to vanish. If you are off the beat even slightly, you will hear the click of metronome.
  5. I like to count off claps to see how long I can go before I get off time.
  6. If you lose the beat (if you can hear the metronome clicking) stop and try to sync up again.

Try this exercise at different tempos too.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

CHOPRO: While my guitar gently weeps

From Fri Sep 17 13:59:48 1993
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Subject: (fwd) CHOPRO:While my guitar gently weeps
Organization: Akbar and Jeff's Thesis Hut
Status: O

From: (Olivier FLORENT)
Subject: CHOPRO:While my guitar gently weeps
Date: 17 Sep 1993 17:29:47 GMT
Organization: Laboratoire MASI, Paris VI, France.
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In article <2742md$> (MATH U810202) writes:
Can someone post "Why my guitar gently weep" performed by Beatles.

{title:While My Guitar Gently Weeps}
{subtitle: The Beatles (Harrison)}

{define: Am7/G 1 0 1 0 2 0 3}
{define: Am6/F# 1 0 1 2 2 0 2}
{define: E7/4 1 0 0 2 0 2 0}

## I prefer to do these chords that way :
{define: E7 1 0 0 1 0 2 0}
{define: C#m 4 1 2 3 3 1 -}
{define: A 5 1 1 2 3 3 1}

{c:Intro }

Am | Am7/G | Am6/F# | F
Am | G | D | E7

I [Am]look at you [Am7/G]all see the [Am6/F#]love there that's [F]sleeping
[Am]While my gui[G]tar gently [D]weeps [E7]
I [Am]look at the [Am7/G]floor and I [Am6/F#]see it needs [F]sweeping
[Am]Still my gui[G]tar gently [C]weeps [E7]

[A]I don't know [C#m]why [F#m] nobody [C#m]told you
[Bm]how to unfold your [E7/4]love [E7]

[A]I don't know [C#m]how [F#m] someone contr[C#m]olled you
[Bm]They bought and sold [E7/4]you [E7]

I look at the world and I notice it's turning
While my guitar gently weeps
With every mistake we must surely be learning
Still my guitar gently weeps


Am | Am7/G | Am6/F# | F
Am | G | D | E7
Am | Am7/G | Am6/F# | F
Am | G | C | E7

I don't know how you were diverted
You were perverted too
I don't know how you were inverted
No one alerted you.

I [Am]look at you [Am7/G]all see the [Am6/F#]love there that's [F]sleeping
[Am]While my gui[G]tar gently [D]weeps [E7]

[Am]..Look at you [Am7/G]all [Am6/F#] [F]
[Am]Still my gui[G]tar gently [D]weeps [E7]

{c:Solo to the end...}


Olivier Florent Laboratoire MASI CAO-VLSI, Universite Paris VI France

| Steve Portigal, Dep't of CIS, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON, N1G 2W1 |
| email: Phone: (519) 824-4120 ext 3580 |
| ~~~~~~~~ ask me about 'undercover' the Rolling Stones mailing list ~~~~~~~ |
| I wanna ride the big up the bomb bay.. |
[ Tab from: ]

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

The Long Black Veil

The Long Black Veil
by Lefty Frizzell
written by Wilkin/Dill
Transcribed by Jason and Jennifer Hannan

Capo 2?

Intro: D

[D] Ten years ago on a cold dark night
There was [A] somebody killed beneath the [G] town hall [D] light
There were few at the scene, but they all agree
That the [A]slayer who ran looked a [G]lot like [D]me
The judge said son what is your alibi
If you were [A]somewhere else then [G]you won't have to [D]die
I spoke not a word though it meant my life
For I had [A]been in the arms of my [G]best friend's [D]wife

She [G]walks these [D]hills
In a [G]long black [D]veil
She [G]visits my [D]grave
When the [G]night winds [D]wail
Nobody knows, [G]nobody [D]sees,
[G]nobody [A]knows but [D]me

The [D]scaffold's high and eternity near
She [A]stood in the crowd and [G]shed not a [D]tear
But [D]sometimes at night when the cold wind blows
In a [A]long black veil she [G]cries o'er my [D]bones

She [G]walks these [D]hills
In a [G]long black [D]veil
She [G]visits my [D]grave
When the [G]night winds [D]wail
Nobody knows, [G]nobody [D]sees,
[G]nobody [A]knows but [D]me

[G]Nobody [A]knows but [D]me
[G]Nobody [A]knows but [D]me

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, March 26, 2012

Melissa by the Allman Brothers

Melissa, played in the key of E major, standard tuning, sounds best on the 12 string acoustic, but sounds fantastic on pretty much any acoustic. This song utilizes some great sliding chord shapes that require just three fingers, but sound great because the open strings really resonate and the chord notes follow the melody, too. So, be sure to sing along.

Try playing the E, Bmin7, and C#m/E with your middle, ring, and pinkie fingers, as if you were playing a barre chord and just lifted up your index finger. This makes it much easier to play the F#min7 and Emaj7 with the index, ring and pinkie fingers, instead of stretching the E chord shape across three frets.

Chord         E A D G B E Full Chord Name
E [0 2 2 1 0 0]
F#min7:      [0 4 4 2 0 0] F#min7/11/E
Emaj7:      [0 6 6 4 0 0]
Bmin7:       [0 0 4 4 3 0] Bmin7/11/E
C#m/E:       [0 0 6 6 5 0]
A/E:         [0 7 7 6 0 0]
B            [x 2 4 4 4 x] 
Bsus4        [x 2 4 4 0 0]
C#m          [x 4 6 6 5 4]

E                  F#min7              Emaj7      F#min7
Crossroads, seem to come and go, yeah.
E                                     F#min7                  
The gypsy flies from coast to coast
A             Bmin7          C#m/E  Bmin7
Knowing many, loving none,
E       F#min7            Emaj7    A/E        
Bearing sorrow havin' fun,
Cmaj7                                       Bsus4                             
But back home he'll always run to sweet melissa... 
E        F#min7 Emaj7 F#min7

E                         F#min7                              
Freight train, each car looks the same, 
Emaj7                  F#min7
          all the same.
E                                 F#min7
And no one knows the gypsy's name
A       Bmin7              C#m/E    Bmin7      
No one hears his lonely sigh,
E              F#min7            Emaj7    F#min7      
There are no blankets where he lies.
Cmaj7                                           Bsus4                 
In all his deepest dreams the gypsy flies 
             E                        F#min7   Emaj7   F#min7
with sweet melissa... mmm...

E F#min7  Emaj7 F#min7   (repeat 2x)

Again the morning's come,
Again he's on the run,
Sunbeams shining through his hair,
Appearing not to have a care.
C#m                                A       B       Bsus4
Well, pick up your gear and gypsy roll on, roll on.

E                           F#min7                     Emaj7    F#min7
Crossroads, will you ever let him go? (lord, lord)
E                            F#min7
Will you hide the dead man's ghost,
A          E7Ssus2              C#m/E     Bmin7
Or will he lie, beneath the clay,
E                      F#min7        Emaj7        F#min7
Or will his spirit roll away? 

Cmaj7                                   B               E     F#min7 
But I know that he won't stay without melissa.
Cmaj7                                   B               E     F#min7   Emaj7  F#min7
Yes I know that he won't stay without melissa.

E F#min7 Emaj7 F#min7 (repeat until end)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Rocksmith Single Note Fun

Rocksmith's single note arrangements teach you how to play with control and finesse, so are great ways to improve your speed and technique. Often, and not surprisingly, the parts also teach you essential scale forms. When I play these single note arrangements, I focus on playing efficiently, with little wasted motion, and mute the strings I'm not playing with my right and left hand to play the line as cleanly as possible.

I also like to place my pinkie finger on the corner of my pickup, nice and relaxed, and keep it there as an anchor for my picking. I also use the middle and ring fingers, and the palm of my right hand, for muting.

I really like these two songs, and they're pretty easy to learn, which is why Rocksmith encourages you to play them right away. Master the essential pentatonic scale by playing these riffs:

  • THE DEAD WEATHER: I Can't Hear You
  • THE BLACK KEYS: Next Girl

These songs teach you how to mute strings while you are riffing, too.

For a song that's not really in any scale know to mankind, try:

  • NIRVANA: In Bloom

This song is an excellent example of a "leading tone" line, where grace notes and chromatic runs create a powerful sense of tension as the guitar and bass march in thunderous unison. In fact, the single note part in Rocksmith, minus the solo, of course, is basically the bass line, possibly with one or two minor variants. Single note means learning the solo for "In Bloom." I think this solo is brilliant and well worth the effort, but I'm stuck at 80% mastery right now.

Interestingly enough, In Bloom is also part of RockBand (1), so I've learned to sing it reasonably well, and could probably combine both Rocksmith and RockBand to learn this whole song (minus the drums, sadly).

Songs I'm working on in single note arrangements, but still need to polish

  • LITTLE BARRIE: Surf Hell - I love this tune!
  • CREAM: Sunshine Of Your Love
  • RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS: Higher Ground (this is no longer listed on the Rocksmith site!)
  • THE ROLLING STONES: (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction
The Riff Repeater is a great way to master sections that are giving you trouble in Single note arrangements. I usually start with the Leveler, and then use the other options if I'm really stuck. 

What are your favorite single note lines in Rocksmith? Which songs are the easiest to learn? Are there parts that are especially difficult to play? Please comment below.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Grave of Bonaparte

Greg PC has done some excellent research on this traditional song, and found some original (primary) documents, starting with:

a set of alternate lyrics (not the Know-Nothing ones) that preserves the theme of the song but which is really different. [Here's] an Italian blog that actually has the musical notation to the song! One thing I've found interesting is the fact that the second and third verses swap places in different versions. Most of the older versions I came across have it 1-3-2 which made me assume that maybe that was part of the arrangement Norman Blake had done, to switch the two. It makes more sense to me the way we sing it but it also made me question if we were getting it right from a tradition point of view. I need worry no longer. This version is in the order we're used to. 

Also, Greg found the lyrics at the Library of Congress, and a chord chart with lyrics. Nice work on the research!

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Rockband 3 Drums: Getting Started

I believe it's possible to learn how to play drums by starting on the standard Rockband ("non-pro") drum set. In fact, I have the Guitar Hero drum kit (3 toms and 2 half cymbals), but it works with Rockband 2 and 3 as well. I always have fun when I play Rockband drums, even though I can only finish songs consistently on Easy. I've found that when I play drums, afterwards my guitar playing (real guitar and bass, not the Rockband kind) is much tighter; meaning, much more accurate rhythmically.

It seems that the best way to learn anything in Rockband 3 is to start in Career mode and pick the appropriate challenge; in my case, this means starting with the 11 simplest songs, and trying to reach three stars or more on each song. I just couldn't pull it off on Medium difficulty.

Once I got started, I could immediately see my improvement from song to song. I started off earning three stars, and scoring in the low 90's for accuracy; by the end I earned five stars on one song and four on several others, and put together some nice long streaks, where the drum highway lights up with a neon blue swirly pattern and the streak badge glows with the same neon blue. Also, I was scoring 95% accuracy or better, although I never finished higher than the top 90% of the leader board.

I learned how to hold the sticks loosely, so they bounce off the heads, and how to relax through my arms and shoulders, instead of trying to really hammer away. Of course, it's fun to really bang away, but to put together a decent streak, I found it best to try to relax into the beat, and not force it.

Some other tips:

  • when the track starts, bang your sticks together, or tap your foot (not the one on the pedal, the other one) in sync with the click track at the beginning of every song, so you are ready to make your first hit right on the beat.
  • Setting up the drums "righty-style" means I can cover the red tom with my left hand, and then drum the other pads with my lead hand (my right).
  • Try some rolls, in rhythm, during your drum breaks, when you trigger Overdrive. As with the rest of your drumming, focus on staying relaxed and staying on rhythm, instead of trying to bang out the wildest drum solo you can. If you come out of the drum break on the beat, you keep your streak alive, and the points mount up quickly. Plus, it feels great!