Three gigs in a month is some kind of record for me. Well, yes, actually they were officially Liquorice Allstars gigs, weren’t they? Three different mixtures of Liquorice Allstars, playing three different assorted bags of songs. But I was there, somewhere in the middle, singing with gusto (or do I mean Gafro?) and bashing away on my guitar in an enthusiastic – if untutored – fashion.
You’d think with all this practice I’d be getting good at it. Or getting used to it at least. But you know, I still feel like a fraud when I turn up at a gig with my expensive Bose PA system and my flashy Yamaha guitar. Out of all the guitarists that I know, I’m probably the least capable – even my bass players are better guitarists than me! But I do have the nicest equipment (ooer missus!)
I guess I’m just a busker (albeit one that has never busked – in the proper sense of the word – in his life). I know about half a dozen chord shapes (no jazz chords), and I’d be lost without my capo.
I suppose the one thing I have is the little bit of confidence needed to get up and sing in front of an audience. I kinda like my own voice these days, but it took a long time and a lot of practice for me to get to this point, where I think I can sing okay. Sometimes when I’m singing I think “wow! That guy’s pretty good!” Other times I’m thinking “am I singing in tune?” or “am I just plain delusional?”
Singing is a really personal thing though, isn’t it? Someone might criticize your guitar playing skills and you’d say “yeah, so what if I’m not the world’s best guitarist?” But if someone is critical of your singing, it’s like them telling you that you’re unattractive or that you smell. Am I? Do I? Don’t tell me, by the way – it’s not polite!
You see, ever since my early teens, I always wanted to be a singer in a band. I learned to play guitar to enable me to sing… quite possibly coz no-one would let me sing in their band (the fools!). I don’t practice my guitar playing as much as I should, and maybe it shows. But I do practice my singing (yes, really) and hopefully that has started to show too.
I wonder if Neil Young practices his playing or singing? Now there’s a voice that’s an acquired taste. I think I’ve just about managed to acquire it, but it’s taken many years. Ditto Bob Dylan: some great songs, but a terrible voice you gotta admit (and I’ve not yet acquired a taste for his voice). And he’s probably even more of a busker on guitar than I am. But neither of them have done too badly I guess. It’s all about the songs, isn’t it? I should remember that… and get round to flippin’ recording my own.
Haven’t we heard that before???