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Author Topic:  Always Patsy Cline (need help about playing the show)
Jon Voth

 

From:
Virginia, USA
Post  Posted 16 May 2021 7:54 pm    
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Today I was asked to do a run of the show-weekends for a month with rehearsals starting next week. I don't know if they had someone who fell through last minute, but I am game. I'm fairly new but play several Patsy tunes with my band.

I was aware of the play but never saw it, and the only full length version I have found on YouTube doesn't have steel in it.

For those who have/do it-is there a standard book to it? Are there written parts I would play? Is there singing involved?

I'm a bit nervous as I've not done a show on steel like this, and would appreciate any advice from folks who have done it-just to be prepared as I can before rehearsals start. I certainly don't want so say no I can't do it.

Thanks!
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Bob Hoffnar


From:
Austin, Tx
Post  Posted 16 May 2021 8:27 pm    
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Learn the classic intros and turn arounds first. You gotta be able to play walking after midnight like the recording and a few other things. After that it’s pretty easy. Just play the simple regular stuff in that style. If you are worried that you can’t keep up take a couple lessons/ coaching sessions to help get you in the ballpark. It’s a super fun gig. I always enjoy playing it.
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K Maul


From:
Upstate NY/Hobe Sound FL
Post  Posted 16 May 2021 8:42 pm    
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I’ve done the show a few times. The band doesn’t have to sing. There is a book and the arrangements are standard “show-biz” flavor, usually with piano as a dominant instrument. The steel is there for color. You don’t have to play what’s on the page 100% as written but need to stick to the form of the arrangements, which will sink in after a few rehearsals. It’s fun and the musicians you’ll meet will help you as a “first-timer” in a theatre production. That was my experience.
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Bill Cunningham


From:
Atlanta, Ga. USA
Post  Posted 17 May 2021 2:49 am    
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K Maul wrote:
I’ve done the show a few times. The band doesn’t have to sing. There is a book and the arrangements are standard “show-biz” flavor, usually with piano as a dominant instrument. The steel is there for color. You don’t have to play what’s on the page 100% as written but need to stick to the form of the arrangements, which will sink in after a few rehearsals. It’s fun and the musicians you’ll meet will help you as a “first-timer” in a theatre production. That was my experience.


Tell them you sing! The last time I did it, it was a union job. If I’d learned the “oohs” and “aahs” I would have gotten doubling pay.
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Steve Hitsman


From:
Waterloo, IL
Post  Posted 17 May 2021 2:57 am    
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I was given the score marked "steel guitar" the first time I did the show. I would think access to the written music would be part of the licensing. There are some specific parts for the steel to play, i.e. the long gliss at the end of "Honky Tonk Angels" and a unison passage for lead guitar and steel in "Blue Moon of Kentucky," etc. Fortunately, there are enough improv opportunities to keep it fun.
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Ronald Sikes


From:
Corsicana, Tx
Post  Posted 17 May 2021 3:00 am    
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I’ve done this show several times and it is one of the most fun gigs I’ve ever done. Also , pay close attention to the script. There’s places throughout the play where Patsy and/or Louise will be speaking while the band plays very subtle in the background. Dynamics are a must. Get you a music stand and a light , you’ll need this. Most of all have fun. 😀
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Jeff Mead


From:
London, England
Post  Posted 17 May 2021 4:19 am    
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I think I'd use non-pedal steel though.
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Steve Hitsman


From:
Waterloo, IL
Post  Posted 17 May 2021 4:35 am    
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Maybe, Jeff but I'd wager it's more often done with pedals.
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K Maul


From:
Upstate NY/Hobe Sound FL
Post  Posted 17 May 2021 5:49 am    
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The production specifically called for PEDAL steel when I did it.
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Roger Rettig


From:
Naples, FL
Post  Posted 17 May 2021 6:16 am    
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Ronald makes an excellent point. Watch your levels - 'underscore' usually means whisper-quiet and directors get pretty fed up if they have to keep asking for the band to be quieter.

I've done almost forty different productions of this show over twenty-plus years. The written 'parts' are sketchy at best but, as has been said, there are some specific spots where they'll want what's on the page. This usually amounts to intros and outros. The piano is the primary instrument in the score. If you practice by listening to the actual recordings you won't be far off the mark.

I've found it most enjoyable even if dialog is wearing a bit thin with me these days. Smile
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Pete Burak

 

From:
Portland, OR USA
Post  Posted 17 May 2021 8:25 am    
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I did a 16-week run of this show several years ago.
The only song I remember having to kick-off on queue was I Fall To Pieces.
I was very fun for me. I liked all of those songs.
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Roger Rettig


From:
Naples, FL
Post  Posted 17 May 2021 8:48 am    
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Not 'Walking After Midnight', Pete? That's always been solo steel for the first measure (counted in by the MD) when I've done the show.

The record sounds like 'non-pedal' but I've never done the show without pedals. '...Midnight', I've played on both necks in my time. Usually B major.
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Pete Burak

 

From:
Portland, OR USA
Post  Posted 17 May 2021 9:30 am    
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Roger Rettig wrote:
Not 'Walking After Midnight', Pete? That's always been solo steel for the first measure (counted in by the MD) when I've done the show.

The record sounds like 'non-pedal' but I've never done the show without pedals. '...Midnight', I've played on both necks in my time. Usually B major.


It was around 2006, I think. I remember playing it but don't remember it being solo. I think it was an "in the studio" scene where Patsy is not impressed with it and says something to Owen about it being just a lil ol country song, then we play Walkin'.
I do remember one night the piano player saying, psst! Hey Pete!.. when I spaced the kick-off for I Fall To Pieces! Smile Slight awkward silence for a moment there!


Last edited by Pete Burak on 17 May 2021 1:16 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Ben Lawson

 

From:
Brooksville Florida
Post  Posted 17 May 2021 12:38 pm    
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Jon, I've done the show about 20 times and it's been a little different with each set of shows. I asked the Music Director if he knew who wrote the steel score. I mentioned that they might not have understood what a steel was like. He said play the intros as they were way originally recorded for Patsy. Best thing in general is work it out with the band members. Have fun with it.
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Roger Rettig


From:
Naples, FL
Post  Posted 17 May 2021 3:02 pm    
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Pete:

Falling asleep up there is a possibility, but my worst faux pas was bringing in 'I Fall To Pieces' in the wrong key. The previous week, at the request of the actress playing Patsy, I'd been asked to play it in B major. A week later and we'd returned it to Bb - trouble was, I was day-dreaming and forged ahead in B.

That was a pretty unpleasant sound when the other guys came in in Bb.

Whoa!
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Pete Burak

 

From:
Portland, OR USA
Post  Posted 17 May 2021 3:15 pm    
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Roger Rettig wrote:
Pete:

Falling asleep up there is a possibility, but my worst faux pas was bringing in 'I Fall To Pieces' in the wrong key. The previous week, at the request of the actress playing Patsy, I'd been asked to play it in B major. A week later and we'd returned it to Bb - trouble was, I was day-dreaming and forged ahead in B.

That was a pretty unpleasant sound when the other guys came in in Bb.

Whoa!


That is so funny... now!
I am still friends with our Patsy. Sometimes she does a Patsy set at a place out at the Oregon Coast and gives me a ring to play.
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Fred Treece


From:
California, USA
Post  Posted 17 May 2021 3:43 pm    
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I never did the Always show, but I worked in a Patsy tribute band for 15 years. Our singer changed keys constantly. I kicked off a lot of tunes on guitar and I owned the mistake Roger describes maybe a half dozen times, and probably never for the same song. I can totally relate to the snooze hazard too. Sometimes I wondered if I was in a tribute band or a cowgirl story-telling show (which APC is, actually). It was definitely a challenge to stay energized for the tunes and alert for cues.

For steel players doing the show, I imagine there is a lot of creative license allowed, since there really is very little steel in her music. At least, not with the original hit recordings. Of course, the signature themes have to be covered, like Fall To Pieces.
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Ron Pruter

 

From:
Arizona, USA
Post  Posted 17 May 2021 8:21 pm    
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I've played about 60 of these shows. I'd also ad playing a lot of harmonics-chimes and sixth chords to give it that age appropriate sound. Have fun. RP
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Steve Hitsman


From:
Waterloo, IL
Post  Posted 18 May 2021 3:38 am    
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I did a run with Stages St. Louis, Jackie Petroccia as Patsy (Roger knows). We played behind a scrim at the rear of the stage where it could get uncomfortably warm. One time, as I kicked off "Walkin'... " my bar slipped out of my sweaty hand and went spinning down the neck. Embarrassing but nobody skipped a beat.

FWIW, I'm doing another run with Stages STL this August. Thirty nine shows with Diana DeGarmo.
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Jim Park

 

From:
Carson City, Nv
Post  Posted 18 May 2021 7:13 am     Always Patsy
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The show I did didn’t have a fiddle so I had to intro Sweet Dreams, which I borrowed from Terry Bethel. But the most fun I had was doing the Squeaky Door sound when they sneak into the radio station!
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Roger Rettig


From:
Naples, FL
Post  Posted 18 May 2021 11:31 am    
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Jim: My 'squeaky door' was a fingerpick dragged along the windings on the 10th string on C6.

Fred makes a good point. Many of Patsy's significant records were more 'crossover' than country, and steel is mostly absent. The playwright, though (Ted Swindley), was convinced that steel guitar was a 'must-have' for his show and I, as a working musician, have been grateful for his blunder.

Steve:
Yes, we had the same set (or, at least, a copy) for our run of the show in Montgomery, AL (early-2015, I think). Jackie certainly was a good one and, once in her make-up, actually resembled PC. I know your St Louis run was a long one. Ours was eight weeks, I think.

If I've done the show on a single-neck, I've wanted to kick off '...Midnight' pedals-down on the second fret - every MD, though, asked for it an octave higher where, in my view, E9 sounds too thin. I never won that battle.
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(Real men play 'Day'!)


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Jim Park

 

From:
Carson City, Nv
Post  Posted 18 May 2021 12:11 pm    
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Thats the EXACT same thing I did Roger! I used a thick guitar pick, as it sounded better.
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Roger Rettig


From:
Naples, FL
Post  Posted 18 May 2021 12:28 pm    
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What did Terry Bethel play for the intro of 'Sweet Dreams', Jim? That violin part would be horrendous to play on steel!

Whenever I've been on a show without fiddle ( Smile ) the pianist usually nails it (and more in-tune than a fiddle).
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(Real men play 'Day'!)


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Dave Zirbel


From:
Sebastopol, CA USA
Post  Posted 18 May 2021 12:42 pm    
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I had the pleasure of doing 50 or so shows of this production. I really enjoyed it. Like someone mentioned, there's just a few key intros and turnarounds, and I don't read music but was supplied an audio sample of how the music ties into the script. We didn't really have strict bandleader, or I don't even think anyone was the leader. The pianist and bassist had musical educations and that really helped. Everyone was cool and got along, and some of us already knew each other and we all worked well together....in fact after the run was over , the band and Patsy went on to open for Asleep At The Wheel. Smile I say go for it!
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Jeff Mead


From:
London, England
Post  Posted 18 May 2021 1:48 pm    
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Roger Rettig wrote:
The record sounds like 'non-pedal' but I've never done the show without pedals. '...Midnight', I've played on both necks in my time. Usually B major.


The record was definitely non-pedal - played by Don Helms no less.
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