Last Call Waltz

you don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here
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This song has an unusual origin. A friend of Edward Burch had some kind of plan to make a fishing show (!) for export to Norwegian television (!!) and wondered if we could throw together some theme and incidental music for it (!!!). Edward, Kip Rainey, David Joseph Wesley, Allen Stickels, and I spent one long Champaign, IL, afternoon at it, and we came up with some pretty nice recordings that, alas, never made it to Norway and any of my ancestral tree that may still sprout there.

For the show’s theme music, we did a vocal number using something that Kip said was an old song he knew called “Let’s Go Fishing” (though I’ve never heard it outside us recording it that day).

And for the incidental music we used the chord progression from another song in the Rainey songbook called “Give Me My Money” and just did a bunch of versions of the same thing at different tempos, meters, moods, and arrangements based — in particular, a fast, Western Swing-sounding version we called “Hank’s Fishin’ Song” and a slow waltz we called “Fishin’ Waltz” (aka “Blue Fishin’, aka “The One That Got Away”). When I was later playing with a group called the Paint Branch Ramblers in Prince George’s Co., MD, and we needed a last-song counterpart to a show-opener song I’d written called the “First Round Polka,” the “Fishin’ Waltz” was repurposed as the “Last Call Waltz.”

Here’s a live performance from July 2010 in Champaign, IL. This song always kills live, but then sounds embarrassingly pitchy to me on playback (though maybe that’s what a yodel at last call *should* sound like). But having Kip on the lap steel here makes the song — and you get to hear the whole extended Orchestra introduced at the end.

The Viper & His Famous Orchestra, “Last Call Waltz,” Mike n’ Molly’s, Champaign, IL, July 2010

And if you want to here how this plays in Maryland with fiddle and cümbüş and with Mike Paul as the master of ceremonies, then who am I to deny you of that pleasure.

The Paint Branch Ramblers, “Last Call Waltz,” Homegrown Coffee House, Accokeek, MD, December 2008

And, hey! It sounds okay even in a three-way:

The Viper & His Famous Orchestra, “Last Call Waltz,” Washington Heights Boulevard Bash, Milwaukee, WI, August 2017

the kind of music your great-great-great-grandparents warned your great-great-grandparents about