Thursday, October 19, 2006

"You need a focus group," he said. Readers, will you join?

Bob and I (the Pratie Heads) finished recording our new cd on Tuesday and started mixing it. That was pretty fast! So now we need a title for the project.

It's hard to find a title these days because:
  1. After all these years, it seems every title has already been used.

  2. In the days of ubiquitous search engines, even words and phrases which have not yet been titles are disqualified by virtue of their unanticipated Google bedfellows.
A friend of mine told me recently that he was called by a more famous musician who had this request: "I found you on the internet. I'd like you to change the name of your band because my group wants the name you're using."

And then there are all those humble fish-and-chips and pawn-shop merchants named McDonald who can't use their own names on their businesses for fear of being sued. In the old days it would have been harder for the mega-corps to find them and bust them.

Anyway, the name I wanted to use for our album was: RAG FAIR. We recorded the song last - I suggested it because the tone of our collection was kind of melancholy and we needed a cheerful song. Bob hadn't sung it since the 80s but relearned it over his breakfast eggs which, by the way, had expired last July - "they're still perfectly good!" sez he. He recorded the song half an hour later.

In the 1700s a "Rag Fair" was like a flea market or a PTA Thrift Shop. Many people were so poor there was a flourishing business selling worn-out clothes (slightly less worn-out than the ones folks already had on their backs). The most famous rag fair was on Rosemary Lane in London. Rag fair merchants were usually Jews.

Here's the song:
Rag Fair

Well, I googled "Rag Fair" and was absolutely swamped by zillions of pages referencing a famous Japanese pop group! Jeez!

So then I thought of calling our project "Bob and Jane's Rag Fair."

That's when my friend said: "That's not a good name," and I said, "But I like it, it's kind of informal," and he said: "You need a focus group."

So I thought of asking you, my blog friends. Be honest now. Do you think "Bob and Jane's Rag Fair" is a dumb name?

We haven't really thought of any good alternatives. One song Bob sang says contemptuously, "You may moan with plaintive tone your gormless modern tunes, but I will roar along the shore beneath the blood-red moon." We love the word gormless, which turns out to be one of those words that doesn't have an opposite. So when I googled "Gormful Tunes" nothing came up, and that's good, so that's a possible title. However, Gormful would be hard to spell and looks a lot like Wormful. Just one letter different, see.

Then Bob suggested: "Hell Froze Over" because I told him once I would only play with him again when ...

And speaking of freezing, here is a tune I wrote to go with a reworked text of the traditional early American song "The Frozen Girl."

That song was recorded by Cordelia's Dad (a great, great group) and it was a great cut, but it was so so sad. See, the girl is on the way to a party in an open sleigh but it's a cold night and she freezes to death on the way.

But from my (motherly) vantage point I thought it was actually a cautionary tale, one which foreshadowed the Darwin Awards - this girl who is so vain she won't wear a coat (or a blanket) on a winter night because she wants to show off her fancy silk jacket - well, frankly she is too dumb to live.

And you immediately remember that your own kids did this, and in fact you probably did too, and so did I - I still remember shivering stubbornly all winter one year because my mother had uncharacteristically let me choose my own winter coat and I went for fashionable rather than warm. We all survived but perhaps only because they had invented heated cars by the time we came along...
The Frozen Girl

"Bob and Jane's Rag Fair"? Anybody who has an opinion, please let me know.

UPDATE: or how about "The New Rag Fair" ?? Nu?

UPDATE #2: or how about "Rosehill Rag Fair" ?? (Rosehill is the name of the street Bob lives on, and he wrote a tune called the Rosehill Reel)

Technorati Tags: , ,


At 9:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Riaf Gar and the Frozen Girl?

At 10:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

After listening to the song, I suggest 'Rye Fair'.

I also like, from Bob's quote, 'Blood-Red Moon.' Don't know if it fits the album though. How about '(Some English County Name) Rag Fair'.


At 11:02 AM, Blogger melinama said...

Riaf Gar? Am i missing something?

Bill, I thought of "Blood-Red Moon" but I googled it and it's the name of a Vampire Romance book series. So, from your other idea - "The Rosehill Rag Fair" ?

At 11:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry Jane. Read it 'backards'. ;)

At 11:56 AM, Blogger melinama said...

Oh, I thought it might be some "filk" reference. Heh...

At 1:55 PM, Anonymous Sylvia said...

I think Bob and Jane's Rag Fair kind of sounds like a kiddie show. Too bad about the Japanese pop group because Rag Fair is a great name. What if you add an "e" to fair = faire. Still too close? New Rag Fair, that sounds OK too. I just googled "modern english to old english vocabulary" and found a cool site that translates modern words into their old english equivalents. New becomes niwe, Niwe Rag Fair...kind of obscure though and nobody would know how to pronounce it. Here's a cool one; neighborhood becomes neawest, Neawest Rag Fair. Old becomes gamel; wow, ninety becomes hundnigontig. And lust stays the same! Sorry, I'm babbling.

But check out the website, it's cool,

Good luck and great songs. When can we get the CD?

At 3:18 PM, Anonymous alma said...

Nu Rag Fair. I like the contrast of the word "new" -- especially with the modern spelling -- in conjuction with an old world reference.

Congrats on the recording!

At 4:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I vote for ''Rosehill Rag Fair.'' or ''Rosehill Fair'' or ''Rosehill Rags'' ~~~~Susanlynn, liking the word ''rosehill''

At 4:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like ''Rosehill Rag Fair'' or ''Rosehill Fair'' or ''Rosehill Rags''~~~Susanlynn, liking the word ''rosehill''

At 9:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I do like Rosehill (a lot), but I wouldn't do anything 'Rags' (with the s), else I'll be expecting Eubie Blake.


Btw, I'm going to plug my niece's blog - she may shoot me, but I think it's pretty inetersting so far. She's an au pair in Paris (for now). The blog is new, so you may want to read from the bottom up.

At 8:15 AM, Blogger CricketOrr4 said...

You could always go with something traditional for your albumn like "Pratigonia". Or, to incorporate your idea as well, "Pratigona Rag Fair" or "Rag Fair of Pratigonia".


Post a Comment

<< Home

Find me on Google+