The Ditty Bag

Let’s work those spam filters with a second JRT newsletter for September. Much hubbub to bub about – check out the details below, or hop over to / find us on Facebook / or even ReverbNation.

Caroline’s Jazz Club

I’ll say it again:

Caroline’s Jazz Club

401 S 2nd Street

414 221 9444

Thursday Sept 14

8:30pm – midnight

The J Ryan Trio would love to see you at a jazz club named by Downbeat Magazine in 2016 as one of the world’s best. Published since 1934, Downbeat is the publication of record for all things jazz. To share the experience and vibe of the real Caroline’s with our close friends (that’s you) would be a highlight and privilege. Please do join us on Thursday.

Street Eats festival

Catalano Square – Third Ward (south end of Buffalo Street)

Friday Sept 15

4pm – 8pm

Bring along the dogs and the kids for the best food-truck dinner in town. It’s a great scene.

Bugsy’s Backalley Speakeasy

218 N Water St, Milwaukee

(but enter via the alley off Chicago Ave)

414 221 6565

Saturday Sept 16

9pm – 1am

(Re)birth of the cool. It’s bugsy’s and it truly is a night-time Milwaukee gem. I love hanging out there, but I love-love laying down some cookin music there. JRT party tables are the ones next to the stage – tell ’em Heather sent you.

The Ditty Bag – a 1960 reprint of a 1947 paperback. Being a fan of anything vintage and mid-century modern, I was stoked to geek out over this bizarre tome lent to me by our friend Kristin. Page upon page of music lead sheets covering the most eclectic and unheard-of songs ever written.

This book has unseated my previous vintage favorite: The New Hotdog Cookbook. First published in 1968 by folks presumably juiced-in with the Hormel or Oscar Mayer crowd, this pulp-non-fiction features an entire chapter on ‘hot dog casseroles’. Yeah – that happened… AND in an almost totally unrelated development, ryan is not allowed to serve food at rehearsals anymore.

But back to The Ditty Bag. Let’s review some choice song selections from this American classic:

Page 24: “Twankydillo” – The title’s meaning is never revealed, but is repeated 5 times in each of 3 choruses. I think the UN has ruled singing this song a violation of the Geneva Convention.

Page 88: “Nice Girls Don’t Chase the Boys”
I’m guessing this song fell out of rotation once replaced with “Mean Girls Swipe Left”…or something along those lines.

Page 99 – my personal favorite: “When Your Potato’s Done”
What I assumed was a clever euphemism for something cheeky is merely a heart-felt ballad to the cooking and subsequent consumption of America’s favorite tuber. The swingin ride-out chorus concludes:

When my potato’s done I shall eat it
Frizzled or charred, soft or hard
When my potato’s done I shall eat it
If it’s good or not!

Why bother making it rhyme… or make any sense. And they put it in Ab – the poato-est of keys.

But The Ditty Bag also sports an ‘advice for band leaders’ section. Number 10 in the ‘summary of pointers’ indicates I’ve clearly been doing things all wrong:

page 184 – “In general, aim at singing with spirit that does not degenerate into raucousness, and with expression that does not degenerate into ultra-soulfulness”.

Well – here’s to our new setlist and spirit of non-degeneracy…