April 17th @ Free Times Café

It’s interesting how music is so often associated with significant events in our lives. Being in a band, I get the pleasure of sometimes providing the music for those events. At Gordon’s Acoustic Living Room we’re pleased to play at holiday parties (either secular or religious), divorces, wakes, circumcisions, bar or bat mitzvahs and sweet sixteens (although I’m not really sure what adolescent would pick us as the band to play at their major life event) and of course, weddings.

When playing a wedding the big question is always what will the first dance be. As a guide to brides and grooms I have assembled a list of the most inappropriate first dance songs. They include: Torn Between Lovers, Chains, Love The One You’re With, Go Your Own Way, Hotline Bling, and 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover (and I bet you can come up with lots more – go ahead, try it, ask your friends for suggestions, it’s lots of fun).

Brides and grooms also have to be reminded to actually listen to the words of the songs they think might be appropriate. For example, Every Breath You take by The Police is not an expression of undying love, but rather the words of an unhinged but determined stalker.

And then there’s Freda Payne’s 1970 hit Band of Gold. While initially one might think that a song about a wedding ring would be a great first dance tune, that isn’t the case here. You see, Band of Gold is the only Number 1 tune I’m aware of that deals with impotence. “Impotence” you cry. “Why yes”, I answer.

If you don’t remember the tune – or have never heard it – take a listen, it’s quite catchy (YouTube Link). Now did you really listen to the lyrics? “Last night on our honeymoon/We slept in separate rooms” and “I wait in the darkness of my lonely room/Filled with sadness filled with gloom/Hoping soon/That you’ll walk right through that door/And love me like you tried before.” I mean, what else could it be about?

Well, to be thorough there is actually another interpretation of the lyrics. This version posits that the groom is gay and therefore not actually impotent, just not really interested in the bride in that way. This perspective also gives a whole new meaning to the concept of best man. The song apparently was a hit in a lot of gay discos for that reason.

This doesn’t mean that Band of Gold, isn’t a great song; it is. What it does show however is that context is pretty important. A song that might be wonderful in one setting may be completely inappropriate in another. For example, The First Cut is the Deepest is a tune that we could play pretty much anywhere unless the gig was at a circumcision, where I dare say it wouldn’t go over well (we haven’t actually been asked to play at a circumcision, but as you can tell, we already have a list of songs we won’t play for such an occasion).

None of this really will matter however when we take over the stage and the surrounding area at the Free Times Café (College just west of Spadina) on April 17 for our regular monthly gig. At the Free Times, our wildly eclectic mix of tunes always seems to work. This is due in no small part to the friendly confines of the venue, with its menu of yummy food and drink and of course the open-minded, receptive and enthusiastic audience. The show starts at 8 and there is no cover. I hope you’ll be able to be part of it.


P.S. Please feel free to share your inappropriate wedding tunes with me so I can assemble the definitive list – but don’t include any bagpipe tunes, they’re pretty much inherently inappropriate for a first a first dance, unless of course the bride and groom are both highland dancers.

April 17th Set List:
Set #1: Set #2:
Killworth Hills / Calypso Piper
Sooner Or Later
Something In The Air
Pamela Brown
People Are Crazy
Lonesome Fugitive
You Don’t Know Me
Roddy McCorley
Candle In The Night
On And On
That’ll Be The Day
China Girl
Glenora Ferry
Silver Wings
She Loves My Dog More Than Me
Mary Said…
When My Blue Moon
Tunnel Vision
Yankee Lady
Pancho And Lefty
Come Together
It’s Not Love
Saskatchewan Skies