This was the last set we played in 2006. Our show at Saratoga First Night was now complete. To accommodate Saratoga Faire, the band that was to follow us, we were going to have to tear down our gear in record time so they would have ample time to set up and do their sound check. Complicating matters even more was the fact that I had brought extra equipment so I could record the show. It made for a pretty chaotic scene, but it came off well.
The first track on the recording is just alot of chit chat and tuning. We got things going with “This Here Bottle”. It sounds like I had to teach Tom how to play the song again. Sometimes the cobwebs got pretty thick. LOL. Walt does a neat little bass lick during the third verse. “Misery River” was up next, and then we did our version of “Lonesome Fiddle Blues”, complete with Walt’s flat-picked bass solo.
We played three sets on this night, and we decided to repeat some of the songs from the previous two sets in the third, the reason being it would be an entirely new audience. That was one of the unique things about First Night, a different audience for each set. So although we had done “It’s Not Easy” earlier in the evening it was going to be a “repeat” for the third set. Walt wrote the song, and it was described by Daily Gazette music reviewer Mike Hochanadel as an “anti NAFTA anthem” in a review of the 2005 Northeast CMA Awards Show at the Egg in Albany, where we first performed it. We just called it “the workingman’s anthem”.
Another original, “You Are The Reason”, which I wrote with Jim Senese was our next song. Listening to this for the first time in awhile, I was struck how all the individual parts came together. This is one of my favorite versions of the song. The harmonies are “haunting” and I think it came out just how we had wanted it to.
I always loved the horse racing analogy that Walt used when writing “No Win No Place No Show”. It’s definitely a favorite of mine. The vocals stand out on this song too. Another Senese/Kilcullen tune, “Why I Said Goodbye” came next. When we were learning this song, I heard an alternating harmony part in my head, and Walt was able to make it work. This is definitely a “Sweet Cider arrangement.
Over time there was always an occasional “brain fart” during a show. Sometimes just one of us would forget a part or words, and sometimes we would experience the dreaded “collective brain fart”. “Four Days of Rain” illustrates this perfectly. I got lost and came in a little early with my vocal. That caused Tom to lose track, and then Walt, Joe and I got confused. It’s funny to listen to it now, but at the time I’m sure we were quizzically looking at each other wondering how it was going to end. Somehow we did pull it together.
Of course when things like that would happen, the best thing to do was to follow up with one of our stronger songs. Our answer was Walt’s “In Not Too Many Days”.
The last song we played in 2006 was Tom’s song “Hudson Tabor Played The Fiddle”. Tom liked to keep things simple chord-wise, and as a result this song only has two chords. This was another song with “haunting vocals”, and great pickin’ by Tom and Joe.
So 2006 was over. We would be starting our 30th year together in 2007.
(The individual mp3’s can be downloaded here: http://www.sweetcidermusic.net/fns_2006_set3.html)