Arthur’s Band

My old mate Arthur, years ago, was drummer in a band
Which played at local halls each Friday night.
And Arthur and his muso friends were always in demand;
They kept proceedings happy there, and bright.

Now Charlie played piano, on the trumpet there was Fred,
And Joe was pretty handy on trombone;
And someone else, whose name I've lost, was good on clarinet,
And also played a real cool saxophone.

'Most everyone would get there nice and early for the gig:
It took some time to set up all the band.
You couldn't bring a piano though, 'cos it was far too big,
So Charlie never came to lend a hand.

He used the piano that resided in each local hall
And hoped that it was near enough in tune.
And mostly it was satisfactory for a country ball;
So Charlie would arrive, but none too soon.

This aggravated all his mates, who planned revenge one night
And loosened off the pins that held the strings
And Charlie's contribution to the band was none too bright
Except for blue words muttered from the wings.

But no one was exempt from jokes, embarrassing and rude,
Like the time that Freddie had a touch
Of diarrhoea; therefore he had eaten little food
So internal pressure wasn't much.

That night there was a trumpet solo scheduled to be played,
And Freddie tried to save himself till then
And not play until that time. I think he was afraid
Of losing what was in his abdomen.

Now when you play the trumpet, well your body pressure's high
Sometimes you have to give it all you've got
And if you're feeling pretty crook there's trouble right nearby
You're probably about to lose the lot.

So Freddie's trumpet lay there while the others played along,
And someone stuffed their hankie up the bell
So that his great solo would be sure to come out wrong.
That was the plan, and only time would tell.

Fred put his trumpet to his lips, and took a mighty breath,
The look upon his face, it seemed so funny.
The puffed out cheeks and bulging eyes, he died a megadeath
And dropped his horn and sprinted to the dunny!

And in one hall there was a stage that gently sloped away
Toward the front and then a three foot drop.
And after they got started Joe reached out and flicked the stay
That acted as the bass drum's only stop.

The bass drum moved downhill a bit with every thumping beat,
And Arthur stretched his leg out more and more.
Then moved the snare and cymbals down together with his seat:
So drums and Arthur slowly crossed the floor.

The band kept playing through the set, the crowd all danced away
While Arthur drifted surely down the hill.
The band was far behind up there since he had gone astray.
Meanwhile his thoughts for Joe were fit to kill.

Came interval and time to have refreshments and a rest;
The bass drum hovering there right on the brink
With Arthur sweating nervously and as you might have guessed
Said, "Damn you Joe, but now I need a drink."

But talk to any muso now, I know you'll have it proved
They've all got stories from their own bandstand.
In some ways life today is not so very far removed
From a muso's life in Arthur's band.

© Tom Chapman 2007