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Music Monday: Wedding Band songs?

Do you know that depressing thing where you come across a recent book or album (or movie or blog or whatever) and you think this really has something, I need to check out what else this person is doing, and you do a little searching and discover that the artist is dead? In the case of She’koyokh and Jim Marcovitch, it was particularly depressing because the fellow was 34 when he died last fall.

In the midst of whatnot, we are in proverbial, aren’t we.

Anyway, what I was going to write about was that the last song on the album was a Wedding Song, called Wedding Song, about the awful and calamitous experience of being a band at a wedding, or really about the awful and calamitous experience of being a band at a hundred weddings. It’s funny, and a little crazy, and I was reminded of Gogol Bordello’s song American Wedding.

Which, it turns out, is not so much about the experience of being the wedding band, although I certainly had the impression, in listening to it, that that was the reason for the Gypsy shit to be there, rather than any personal connection to the bride or the groom. The She’koyokh song is explicitly about being in the band (including when the band members get cranky with each other), but the Gogol Bordello song isn’t. Still, there’s a connection there, musically and thematically.

And then I started to think didn’t Mickey Katz have a song about being in a wedding band? And yes, he did, or at least he had a Wedding Song of his own. Well, two. At least. I couldn’t find the lyrics, and I don’t for some reason have the album (which I think I recall is It’s Simcha Time!), but it was there, in the back of my head, all the time.

So. Three data points make a trendline, yes? I suspect there’s a tradition of songs about being the wedding band, stretching back to the Old Country.

And I wonder—is it a klezmer tradition? Or is it just a musician’s tradition? It seems likely that eighty-seven percent of people who have become professional musicians have played weddings enough to get sick of playing weddings, and to amuse themselves with writing songs about it. I don’t know enough about the other genres to know if there is a series of, say, C&W songs about being in a wedding band. Wedding Band Polkas. Wedding Band ragas. I know there are ceilidh songs, that is, songs about being in a ceilidh (or even a funky ceilidh), but I don’t know any Celtic songs about being in a wedding band. Which doesn’t mean there aren’t a thousand of them, of course.

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,