South Rampart Street Parade (SRSP)
- On October 2, 1981, I happened to videotape Steve Allen discussing the
origin and style of SRSP, and then sitting at the piano and playing
it. VERY INTERESTING!!! A somewhat different melody from the standard BBS
arrangements I have heard and sung, slightly different lyrics, and (if I
recall correctly) a somewhat slower tempo from what we usually sing.
You can get a copy of the video of that show at
(As an aside, David Letterman was the guest host for Johnny Carson that night.)
Here are some of the notes from that show:
STEVE ALLEN - They discuss: Playing at Michael's Pub in New York as a
pianist on the nights that Woody Allen isn't playing, Susan Atkins, falling
down laughing over jokes, being punchy from jet lag, delays in New York
travel departures, his idea for a snack food called Sum-a-dis, his new book
'Talk Show Murders', other comedians, DICK CAVETT SHOW, Bob Einstein, and
then sings 'South Rampart St. Parade'.
Steve wrote over 5000 songs! He would think of a melody, then write words
to help him remember the melody because he could not read or write music (I
have heard this from more than one source - tho it is hard to believe
anyone that talented could not read music). He played piano very well and
also the vibraphone. I saw him on more than one occasion play the vibes
with a little short guy who was in the Tonight Show band, and supposedly
one of the best vibraphonists around. Steve would play the treble part,
then run around him to play the bass part, then stand behind him (Steve was
quite tall) and play both the extreme bass and extreme treble parts while
the other guy was playing in the middle. Of course both of them were using
two sticks in each hand, and it was quite a tour de force!!!
He was the author of several light mystery novels, wrote a series of TV
shows that included 'interviews' with several historic figures (eg he might
have Martin Luther, Albert Einstein, and Adolph Hitler on the same show -
he would create the dialog based on the viewpoints of each of the
"guests"), and wrote a number of more serious books about subjects in which
he was interested. His final book was titled "Vulgarians at the Gate" and
was a lament of the demise of creativity in entertainment and its
replacement with cheap vulgarity. [A lament I share, by the way!]
A few months before his untimely death, the Houston Tidelanders performed
at a cancer survivors benefit show, and he was the featured guest speaker
and was sitting at the table right in front of the chorus. What a role
reversal to be performing for one of the finest performers of the 20th
Lloyd Erickson -- Houston Tidelanders, Innsiders
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
- Has anyone actually seen the composer's original notes. I guarantee you they
are different from what is usually sung. My chorus sang this in comp several
years ago and we were told at that time if we ever did it again we would be
DQ'd. I subsequently went to the store and bought the sheet music. Boy, there
sure were discrepancies in the melody.
- Lloyd Erickson wrote:
> ...I happened to videotape Steve Allen discussing the origin and style ofSRSP,
> and then sitting at the piano and playing it. VERY INTERESTING!!! Asomewhat slower
> somewhat different melody from the standard BBS arrangements I have heard
> and sung, slightly different lyrics, and (if I recall correctly) a
> tempo from what we usually sing.And, then, in classic Erickson fashion, he added some notes from the
show and a link to the Carson web site.
Thanks Lloyd. You continue to be a remarkable source of valuable
information on people and events that have shaped our art-form.
AHSOW - VP Education
- --- In bbshop@y..., Ehink557@a... wrote:
> Has anyone actually seen the composer's original notes. I guarantee
> are different from what is usually sung. My chorus sang this incomp several
> years ago and we were told at that time if we ever did it again wewould be
> DQ'd. I subsequently went to the store and bought the sheet music.Boy, there
> sure were discrepancies in the melody.Please note: This attitude no longer exists in the current judging
> Ed Hinkley
system. First, on melodic alteration, melodic changes that are
accepted as "mainstream" are acceptable. So, SRSP as we know it is
fine. Secondly, if there were stylistic issues (melodic changes or
otherwise), it would be handled in a different manner. Finally, the
likelihood of a 0 for melodic alteration is remote. The rules
suggest a lower Music score, but not up to and including forfeiture
(it says this sort of language in other passages).
From the rules:
6. The arranger is expected to use the composer's melody as the
basis for his harmonization and embellishment. Melodic alterations
might be distracting, especially when the melody is well known.
Alterations that are made for the purpose of satisfying the standards
of acceptable harmonic progressions and harmonic rhythm stated in
II.C.6 are not permitted.
Alterations are acceptable in the following circumstances:
a. Minor melodic alterations may be made to enhance the
potential for increased consonance and singability, as long as the
notes that are changed are not essential to defining the character or
shape of the melody.
b. When an alteration of the melody is commonly known and
c. When, in a repeated section (verse or chorus) of a song, the
arrangement alters or stylizes the melody. Stylized segments may
occur during repeats of a song section as long as the stylization
results in a passage suggestive of the original.
Alterations beyond these parameters will result in a lower Music