Brown Shoes Don't Make It
The Classic Version. By really studying this version, you will be prepared to be totally amazed by the version on Tinseltown Rebellion -- a live 1979 performance of this complex, difficult work.
He keeps switching tempos all the time, because if he finds a tempo he really likes, he'll go steady with it for awhile until he can...
This sprawling composition is formed by 19 SEPARATE SECTIONS, as follows:
Section 1. 4/4; 4 bar intro; 8 bars unison chorus
TV dinner by the pool
Section 2. Slower 4/4; 3 bars of the Soloists (a trio; three voices) then 7 bars of unison vocals [tiny detail: after be a plumber come the words he's a bummer. The singer seems to stumble slightly over the word he's]
Smile at every ugly
Section 3. Four bars of fast 4/4. More circus music. There is a bassoon in here, which we assume is played by Bunk. This is actually a quote, but we'll be darned if we know the exact name of the original ditty (although I'm sure Charles knows! Charles?). The words cut your hair are usually played by a trombone with a major smeary glissando. Anyone know for sure? In any case, that great Retrograde Revolutionary, P.D.Q. Bach (the oddest of Johann Sebastian Bach's twenty-odd children), used THE EXACT SAME DITTY, repeatedly, in a work entitled "Twelve Quite Heavenly Songs" (Arie Proprio Zodicale, S. 16) available on the CD Liebeslieder Polkas, on Vanguard VMD-79438.
Be a jerk (and go to work)
Section 4, like Section 1, but only 2 bars of intro music, and 4 bars with a call and response this time.
Do your job ... life's a ball! ... (TV tonight!)...
Eight bars. Again, a chorus chimes in with a lyric in the middle of a solo line (life's a ball) ... very operatic writing!
A world of secret
First a bar with a fermata containing the beautiful ringing of a cymbal
Section 5. You just knew we'd end up in 3/4 at some point, didn't ya? The creepy four-bar intro:
Compare and contrast this relatively stark intro to the 12 bars that follow: FZ adds layer upon layer -- first the fuzz guitar (not notated above), vocals, timpani, percussion --
In a drawer in a desk
The background begins to swarm with a powerful washy reverberating sound -- a flutter-tonguing flute and/or trumpet is heard; 11 bars of this until
Past the girls in the office
Section 6. Four bars of faster 4/4. Beautiful eighth-note snorks lead directly to
We see in the back
Section 7. A new 3/4 (previous half-note equals new quarter-note); chamber music at its best; six non-Mothers play two violins, a viola, a cello, a trumpet and a contrabass clarinet here. We present here a somewhat incomplete transcription (it still lacks a few details in the strings and the contrabass clarinet) of Bars 70-80, from the snorks to about thirteen.
A few things to notice:
- How carefully FZ orchestrates this music. The piano plays at certain moments, usually moving in contrary motion to FZ's vocal;
- The flutter-tonguing. This is very difficult this is to do correctly!
- The constant use of tritones and careful avoidance of any defining tonality...
His wife's attending...squealed for a week to get him to go
Section 8. Slow 4/4 again! New slower tempo. Let the squealing begin -- sax
String Quartet break!
Section 9. Fast 4/4.
And he loves it
Section 10. We call this 6/8.
She digs it in bed
Section 11. 4/4 (arbitrarily). Note how FZ doubles the trumpet track and pans it, delayed, into the other channel. So effective, when not overused! And how 'bout that "all-tracks" electronic glissando at the end!
Do it again
Section 12. 4/4 ... Tin Pan Alley, almost completely straight (the only "goofy" giveaway -- the completely out-of-sync, delayed, drum part) ... sultry tenor sax ...
She's a dirty
Section 13. 4/4, sung out of tune ... (listen to the chord on loaded!)
If she were my
Section 14. 4/4 with fermatas. Lots going on here. Listen to the bassoon's interesting line; and a beautiful short lick on the xylophone right before the second what would ya do, daddy? just for starters...
Smother my daughter in
Section 15. 4/4, a snappy Dixieland feel with authentic clarinet. Notice the background vocals in this section, very well written.
Time to go home
Section 16. Slow 4/4 -- again, some great orchestrating here: listen to the detail in the orchestration behind gotta meet the Guerneys -- muted trumpet, strings --
TV dinner by the pool
Section 17. Check out the changes here: C Major/Db Major/Gb Major Seventh. And then 13 quarter-note beats in a row, rubato, starting with life is such a ball -- and then suddenly
Section 18. 24 bars of fast 5/8
Section 19. Another long fermata -- can you picture FZ conducting this, fingers jabbing wildly at the air molecules? A real treat is the beautifully recorded less-than-one-second echo from the final sound of this work before the first sounds of