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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
M. Ted (inactive) Help: What's fake about fakebooks? (28) RE: Help: What's fake about fakebooks? 30 Nov 00


I wonder if someone has done a history of the evolution of the fake book? It was the basis of a whole "club band" music culture that has long since disappeared (though there seems to be a sort of revival going on), and its contents even defined what the basic "standard" repertoire was-- I have had several copies of the of the "Original Fake Book" which has for the opening page a table of contents "Standard Fox Trots and Show Tunes", with two indexes--which I have used for years, and and I've had copies of the pages handed to me and stuck in front of me probably hundreds of times over the years, as well--and have been endlessly facinated by the thing, though I know very little about it--

those of you who have a copy, or have seen it, know that ( as mentioned above) is includes the melody line(but never the melody to the introduction), with the lyrics to one verse, and the names of the chords above each measure. There is always a copyright notice on the bottom of each tune, and each section of the book is arranged alphabetically, and is by dance type--

The pages look as if they have been numbered by hand, the titles and some of the lyrics are typed in, as are the names of the composers/lyricists and the attribution to ASCAP or BMI.

The books were mostly owned and jealously guarded by professional musicians(members of the musician's union), and were not illegal--they were published and circulated only to performers, so that the performance royalty, which was paid by the venue, at the time of performance, was the way that the copyright owners and publishers got their money.

There were subsequent fakebooks (The latest one I have is called "70's Collection of Latest/Best Tunes Late and New Standards" and includes things like "All Things Must Pass". "Band of Gold", "Bare Necessities", "Gentle on My Mind", "Fire and Rain", "Theme from Love Story" and a ton of other stuff, and it has a page listing ten other volumes, also available--the price on it, remember, it is about twenty five years old, is a whopping $85--but it has enough stuff to play any Holiday Inn job, wedding, or New Year's Eve gig(no blues, though, and no heavy metal, or other FM rock stuff)

Disco, Club DJ's and recorded music get blamed for killing off these kind club bands, but what really did it was that music changed so much that it couldn't be faked from a lead sheet and chord charts--

The seventies book has a lot of folk-based stuff, several James Taylor songs, Dylan stuff, a Buffy Saint Marie tune, a couple Cat Stevens tunes, Leavin' On a Jet Plane, Candles in the Rain,--all of which would have been highly unappreciated when played by a keyboard, horn players, jazz guitar, jazz drums and maybe even vibes or organ--and god help them if they had tried to play Hendrix tunes!

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