Playing Sweet Home Alabama at a gig. Your opinion?

Swee Holm Alerbamers at a gig?

  • Yes

    Votes: 290 59.1%
  • Nay.

    Votes: 201 40.9%

  • Total voters
    491

Phil3

Member
Messages
1,074
As a solo act, when someone shouts out for me to play it, I play the music but sing the first two verses of Amazing Grace. Gets a good laugh, and then I move on.
Thanks to TGP threads I am working on 'Don't fear the Geezer' ...I don't know who posted it first but it strikes me as funny!
(PS, I will play it in Am, but I'll sing it with a Cockney accent.) ;)o_O


(Hopeful that live performances come back in fashion soon.)
:spit
Yeah I hope they come back too.
 

Paul Sellick

Member
Messages
6
It doesn't matter if I am playing a solo gig, or a big-band gig, either way I have to accept that I am pretty much a human jukebox for the night, and it is my job to do my best at entertaining the room I am working. Yeah sure, sometimes I will groan when someone, and you can usually see them coming, will come up and ask for a song that you personally promised you would never play again, but you must remember, that, until the day you are playing a concert, and every song you are performing was written by you or your band members, then you are human jukebox for the people you are being paid to entertain that night. Don't be too precious, don't take yourself overly serious, if you are a cover band or performer, then that is what you do, and you should do it well. I had a rule with my bands, that if we were requested a song, and we knew it, then we would play it. But what about Sweet Home Alabama, or any other song that you may think has been done to death?, our band rule was to not only play the song, but to play the hell out of it and see if we could get everybody in the room to sing it with you., and turn it into a full on hoe down. You would be amazed at how many professional cover bands have won over rough and rowdy crowds because they did play those songs for them. I have seen bands have crowds turn on them and make their night a living hell because refused to play simple requests Any audience, in any venue, on any night, is not made up of record label talent scouts and high profile virtuoso musicians, 95 out of 100 will be non- musicians, who work for a living, and were raised on the music from the commercial radio stations, so what else are they gonna ask for? All those songs are like working man's anthems, and they love those songs.When you are home recording, or jamming in the garage with the boys or girls, you have the absolute freedom to play whatever the hell you want, but when you are working the crowds, give 'em what they want. If you refuse to work the rooms, you better start writing and working on your originals, and setting your sights on that completely different end of the music industry. And guess what, when your band DOES get famous, your audiences will be expecting to hear all the songs from your first album forever more! Reading and serving the crowd is an essential skill for working musicians. As far as live music goes, a band of very ordinary muso's that plays to the room, is actually being more professional than a group of highly skilled musicians that make no connection with their audience.What could be more satisfying than having an audience on your side, and the management wants you to book you again. I am an average singer, and an average musician, but I have been a full time professional musician since I was 18, and I am 63 now and still playing. Do I love the song Sweet Home Alabama? No. Would I play it if a redneck came up and asked me to play it? Damn right I would. Do you know what would be shameful though, being asked to play it and when you did, you sounded like crap. If you get beat up in the car park afterwards, you thoroughly deserve it! Ha ha! Just kidding guys, have fun, but make sure your audiences have fun too, that's the way all the seasoned professionals with long careers do it.
 

GuitarGuy66

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
8,183
People love it. They dance and have fun. We get paid. It’s all good. I’ll olay whatever makes them dance and have fun doing it.

Hell, I’ll stand on a street corner and bang a garbage can with a lid for $400 a night.
 

GCDEF

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
27,813
Here's that verse:
In Birmingham they love the Governor, boo, boo, boo
Now we all did what we could do
Now Watergate does not bother me
Does your conscience bother you? Tell the truth

Yes, I'm probably overstating SHA as a critique of the South.
But I think it's clear where they stand on Confederacy, and that is often misunderstood by fans and non-fans alike.
On the other hand, the final line, "My, Montgomery's got the answer!" is clearly a reference to Richard Montgomery, whose attempt to invade Canada in 1775 was a massive failure.
It appears SHA is actually intended to promote another invasion of Canada.
Here's an interesting read
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sweet_Home_Alabama

Reader's Digest version, they mentioned Birmingham as it was the center of the civil rights movement. They booed that people there liked the governor. We all did what we could do refers to trying to vote him out.
 

A-Bone

Montonero, MOY, Multitudes
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
101,625
Here's an interesting read
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sweet_Home_Alabama

Reader's Digest version, they mentioned Birmingham as it was the center of the civil rights movement. They booed that people there liked the governor. We all did what we could do refers to trying to vote him out.
Maybe, although Ed King has a decidedly different take on those lines.
 

Phil3

Member
Messages
1,074
i think its best played ironically now, with lyrics replaced, weird al style
Not a terrible idea.

Here's an interesting read
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sweet_Home_Alabama

Reader's Digest version, they mentioned Birmingham as it was the center of the civil rights movement. They booed that people there liked the governor. We all did what we could do refers to trying to vote him out.
Course then you have to decide to take Ronnies word, or Kings...
Course Ronnie was the singer, so I'll take his word for it. I pretty much see the same thing, booing the governor, doing all they could to get rid of him.
 
Last edited:

Phil3

Member
Messages
1,074
What??? I'm not following your point.

Did you read the article? I have no idea what their intent was, but they are asked and quoted in the article.
I was mocking people that rush to call anything they misinterpret as racist.
Personally, Ronnie was the singer, I'm inclined to take his word in regards to what he says the lyrics are about.
But I'll edit the post to make it less open to interpretation/less aggresive.
 

louderock

Member
Messages
4,862
Yet the song is anything but the cuddly picture of ‘authentic’ southern life that the suits would have you believe. It was actually written in the summer of 1973, partly as an indignant rebuke to Neil Young for a couple of his songs that had irked Skynyrd’s fearsome leader and lyricist, Ronnie Van Zant. Young’s Southern Man and Alabama had attacked the perceived bigotry of the south, with lyrics such as ‘crosses burning fast’and ‘weight on your shoulders’. Van Zant was having none of it. “We thought Neil was shooting all the ducks in order to kill one or two,” he told Rolling Stone. “We’re southern rebels, but more than that we know the difference between right and wrong.”

Skynyrd were in fact vociferous in their disdain of then Governor George Wallace, a staunch segregationist. The sweeping assumption that all southerners were reactionary rednecks was something they were at pains to dispel (in Sweet Home… after the line: ‘In Birmingham they love the Governor’ Van Zant is heard saying “Boo boo boo!”). As for Young, Van Zant side-swiped him in typically pugnacious fashion: ‘Well, I heard Mister Young sing about her/Well I heard ol’ Neil put her down/Well I hope Neil Young will remember/A southern man don’t need him around anyhow’.


"My own song 'Alabama' richly deserved the shot Lynyrd Skynyrd gave me with their great record," Young wrote. "I don't like my words when I listen to it. They are accusatory and condescending, not fully thought out, and too easy to misconstrue."
 

johnsav

Member
Messages
1,510
Yet the song is anything but the cuddly picture of ‘authentic’ southern life that the suits would have you believe. It was actually written in the summer of 1973, partly as an indignant rebuke to Neil Young for a couple of his songs that had irked Skynyrd’s fearsome leader and lyricist, Ronnie Van Zant. Young’s Southern Man and Alabama had attacked the perceived bigotry of the south, with lyrics such as ‘crosses burning fast’and ‘weight on your shoulders’. Van Zant was having none of it. “We thought Neil was shooting all the ducks in order to kill one or two,” he told Rolling Stone. “We’re southern rebels, but more than that we know the difference between right and wrong.”

Skynyrd were in fact vociferous in their disdain of then Governor George Wallace, a staunch segregationist. The sweeping assumption that all southerners were reactionary rednecks was something they were at pains to dispel (in Sweet Home… after the line: ‘In Birmingham they love the Governor’ Van Zant is heard saying “Boo boo boo!”). As for Young, Van Zant side-swiped him in typically pugnacious fashion: ‘Well, I heard Mister Young sing about her/Well I heard ol’ Neil put her down/Well I hope Neil Young will remember/A southern man don’t need him around anyhow’.


"My own song 'Alabama' richly deserved the shot Lynyrd Skynyrd gave me with their great record," Young wrote. "I don't like my words when I listen to it. They are accusatory and condescending, not fully thought out, and too easy to misconstrue."
Did you read co-writer Ed King's explanation? It's on the same wiki page.
 
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louderock

Member
Messages
4,862
Did you read co-writer Ed King's explanation? It's on the same wiki page.
Yes. So should we trust the guy who actually wrote the lyrics to the song or the guitarist when it comes to the intent and meaning? Even on the live version from 1976 Ronnie says "There's good people in Alabama. Let Mr Young know that, too" He was defending the good folks of the south and saying that everyone wasn't down with the policies and racism of folks like Wallace. It was a response to Neil's sweeping generalization about the people down there. Neil later acknowledged that and Ronnie and Neil were actually fans of each other.
 

JPowerz

Member
Messages
1
Omg too funny some of this! We get paid to entertain ! Play to your audience and what’s appropriate for the venue . Probably not appropriate for a winery micro brewery . But for a red neck hill billy place or a hole in the wall dive or if you are in the south . I say look in the parking lot if there’s pickup trucks with gun racks and if the guys are wearing ball caps .
Definitely play it! Do an entire show of Lynyrd Skynyrd covers ! Then for your encore play a Boy George song and duck the beeer bottles the hill billies start throwing !
I cater to my audience and give them whatever they want. I adjust my set list to the audience unless it’s a ticketed concert show where they are coming to hear my original music and songs I’ve made my own. My show is my show ! Songs picked for their tempo and content to guide my audience through a range of emotions from getting on their feet dancing to waving arms in the air to joining hands and swaying back and forth . Even tears as I croon a tender ballad of a broken heart. I take my audience on an emotional roller coaster leaving them wanting more and most importantly wanting to repeat the experience as soon as possible .
 




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