OK, boys and girls: Everyone on the right side of the room do the following: Sing the great Carl Perkins song, “Blue Suede Shoes.” (“Well, it’s one for the money/Two for the show/Three to ready/Now go, cat, go/But don’t you/Step on my blue suede shoes/You can do anything, but lay offa my blue suede shoes./You can knock me down,/Step on my face,/Slander my name all over the place/But don’t you/Step on my blue suede shoes/You can do anything, but lay offa my blue suede shoes/You can burn my house/Steal my car,/Drink my liquor from an old fruit jar/But don’t you/Step on my blue suede shoes/You can do anything, but lay offa my blue suede shoes.” That one. You know it from Elvis’s version.)
Those on the left do this: Sing the great Carl Perkins song, “Honey Don’t,” which was the B side of “Blue Suede Shoes” in 1956. You know it from Ringo’s cover. (“Well, how can you say you will when you won’t?/Say you do, baby, when you don’t?/Let me know, honey, how you feel,/Tell the truth, now: Is love real?/But oh, well, honey, don’t!/Honey, don’t! Honey, don’t! Honey, don’t!/Don’t say you will when you won’t;/Uh-uh, honey, don’t!”/Well, I love you, baby, and you ought to know/I like the way that you wear your clothes/Everything about you is so doggone sweet/You got that sand all over your feet/But uh-uh, honey, don’t!” You know it.)
Ready? On the count of three. Let the “Blue Suede Shoes” group start first, and get all the way through the “lay offa my blue suede shoes,” and then the “Honey Don’t” group should join in and start their song when the “Blue Suede Shoes” group starts its next verse.
Practice! Practice! We must take this on the road.
When it dawned on me yesterday (while listening to an old Beatles album) how great those two songs would sound when sung in counterpoint to each other, my daughter, Rachel, who’s quite the musician, said, “Well, ANY ’50s songs could be sung that way: They all had that same 4/4 beat and that boring I, IV, V chord progression that was all anybody knew back then!”
But i say: Sing! Sing! This is gonna be good.