I’ve posted a YouTube video or two in the past, but a recent friendly note from friend of this site Joe B. Stewart made me realize a) that I ought to take a more comprehensive look at “SJI” versions on the famous vide-sharing site, and b) I ought to make it a habit to keep checking back.
In dealing with a), I found that most of the best and most important stuff on YouTube was material that I had covered here before. But what I hadn’t paid as much attention to were, basically, performances by random groups or people I’d never heard of. With a song like “SJI,” there’s no point in trying to be totally comprehensive about every single version: It’s a standard, so it’s part of the repertoire of a countless number of grass-roots musicians.
On the other hand, this very fact speaks to the vitality of the song, and it’s worth spending a little documenting, if not every version, then the fact of the vitality. So that’s my guiding principle in bringing together a couple of video links here today. It’s a smattering of what’s out there.
Meanwhile, I pledge to follow through on b) in the future.
First up: Here’s something else sort of interesting, it’s described as “Live jazz on the Pont St. Louis, Paris, on a Saturday,” and attributed to the Buddy DiCollette Band. The singer seems to be American, or at least he doesn’t seem to be French.
Here’s a recent one, a recording of a performance by a band called Still Standing, whose singer introduces the song by saying: “This is the part of the program where we get all sad and pitiful.”
Here’s a sort of growling, quasi-jam bandish version, by The Sideshow Tramps, addressing the similaritities between the tune to “SJI” and the later “Minnie The Moocher” by basically merging them. Then it moves into “John The Revalator.” It goes on for nearly 10 minutes. Also, there’s a drum solo.
This version is by the Paolo de Sanctis Jazz Gang, but I know nothing about them, or where this was filmed (although I see one of the tags is “Mexico,” so that’s a clue). It’s another quite long version, all-instrumental, most notale for building into a nicely clamorous crescendo about five minutes in.
I’ll close with this one today: Travis Charbeneau’s solo lap top steel improv of the tune, “played on my trusty ‘Watson’ that Grandpappy Randolph W. made around 1957 from a slab of Hawaiian Monkey Pod wood.” I don’t really know what that means, but this is a version I actually enjoyed.