Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Gentleman Troubador

    After many months of disappointing setbacks, it seems my efforts to entertain as a popular singer are close to fruition. I am preparing to complete the acquisition of the few missing links that still remain. Most of the hardware is in my possession. The remaining items are a mixture of hardware and software.

    I have been singing at karaoke venues several times a week for the past year and through those experiences I've revitalized my singing voice and found a pastime I've come to truly enjoy. It is because of the many positive responses I've received and the encouragement to go on my own by some audience members that led me to explore the possibility of becoming an entertainer for groups who would likely appreciate the song selections I've become comfortable with.

    Once I made the decision to pursue this, I researched what I'd need to accomplish this goal. It seemed rather simple, at first, but as I went from step 1 to step 2 there seemed to be an increasing number of additional steps accruing to the process not the least of which was some means of providing the backup music. Without the luxury or convenience of having a live band I have to rely on recorded music.

    The repertoire I wish to offer to clients has expanded to nearly 300 songs including many popularized by Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Willie Nelson, Elvis Presley, Pink Floyd and others which I add on a regular basis. I've recently enjoyed singing some of Johnny Cash's songs and just this week added Jim Reeves and Ferlin Husky — a wide ranging assortment.

    With that many songs and more to come, I find it such a daunting task to memorize the lyrics to all of them that I've declared it impossible and have opted to use a teleprompter. I'm told that Frank Sinatra in the later years of his career relied on such an aid and we all know that presidents, current and past, have also relied on visual assistance. (I tell people I have the CRS Syndrome — Can't Remember Songs.)

    It seemed, based on my karaoke experiences, the logical means of getting that resource would be to buy karaoke CDs which would provide me with the scrolling lyrics. The next necessity would be a device which could read and display those lyrics. I tried a standard karaoke machine available at many music stores or electronic outlets.

    The first one was defective as was the second one. Can you say "disappointment"? Next came the third unusable machine which led me to throw up my hands in despair and sent me back to the drawing board. The first three were intended by the manufacturer for use beyond the family living room or recreation room but they would have been, even without their defects, unsuitable for dependable service at a performance of two hours or more in length.

    I tried one more commercially available machine of a totally different design in the hope of finding a 'fluky' answer. Fail number four. So, back at the proverbial drawing board I decided to take a different approach and began upgrading a used laptop I had bought from a dealer who I mistakenly trusted would not sell a laptop burdened with interfering junk still on the hard drive.

    With the expert assistance and advice from Dwayne, the operator of  Lancaster's Best Karaoke and owner of Speedy Computer in Lancaster, I now have a 'clean' hard drive on my rather nice Dell laptop. (Dwayne and I became friendly during the many karaoke events of his that I've performed in.)

    I've spent hundreds of dollars buying CD+G karaoke discs which with a few additional add-ons to the laptop will be able to provide both the audio and the scrolling video I need for a performance. Now, with the Bose mini-tower speaker I bought on sale at the Guitar Center, I am only a few final steps from being able to market my product to potential clients. Some people have already expressed interest. I'll be happy when I can tell them that now I'm ready.

    Now about the title I've used for this update. For those of you who have read my blogs as The Old Dinosaur Speaks (dot) Blogspot (dot) com, you learned in my very first blog that I refer to myself as an Old Dinosaur because, both brotherless and childless, I am the last of my family line to carry my name and when I've shuffled off this mortal coil, I will be as extinct as the dinosaurs who went on before me many years ago.

    Joyce Jones and her husband Mike operate High Impact Entertainment as "Jammin' Joyce and Midnight Mike". Through my frequent association with them she has come to know my personality and my range of song choices and suggested that The Gentleman Troubador might be a better stage ID and I should keep the "Old Dinosaur" moniker for my blog.

    I did a little market research and the first person I mentioned it to asked me what a troubador is. I was flabbergasted. I thought everybody had seen at one time or another the Disney film Robin Hood and His Merrie Men in which Alan-A-Dale, a troubador, strolled around singing the latest news of Robin's exploits for the mere cost of a farthing or a ha' penny — "I'll sing a song, a rollicking song as I go along my way, with a hey derry die and a derry die do, and a riddledy, diddley day".

    After that first market research contact (a young lady who had never seen "Robin Hood" in a rerun) almost everyone else said they liked The Gentleman Troubador. Actually several said they liked both. I've decided to go with:

                                                      The Gentleman Troubador.

What are ya' gonna do with an old dinosaur?
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