Three Good Measures

what was three good measures?

Three Good Measures was the name for a jamming group I founded along with several friends as well as my partner, Dara. It was mostly inspired by my favorite band, Great Big Sea, many of whose songs we played around with when we got together. From 2001 to about the middle of 2003, we got together every other week or so, played music, and had pie. We called ourselves Three Good Measures, because when we first started playing, that’s about how many good measures of music we could play in a row. ;)

Later, from 2006 into 2009, we did a second iteration of the jamming group. That one was informally labeled Twelve Good Measures, since by then, we were able to do more coherent measures in a row!

In both iterations of the group, we had a great deal of fun with it. And I keep this part of my web page up in its honor.

jam reports

Every time TGM got together to jam, I did a writeup of what we did and posted it on our site as well as to the Great Big Sea message board, the Online Kitchen Party. It was, really, keeping a blog before I knew I was keeping a blog.

I’ve been told that my Jam Reports actually inspired an actual professional musician to start his own musical journal, something of which I remain proud to this day. So I’ve kept the Jam Reports online, though I’ve moved them over to be part of the archived entries on my Dreamwidth account.

three good measures mp3s

These are the MP3s that survive from the Three Good Measures jamming sessions, kept available for posterity and nostalgia and stuff.

  • “Acres of Clams”
    From Jam Session #48, 7/14/02
    This is a folk song that’s been wandering around the Puget Sound region for some time, as far as we can tell; there are sources on the Net that claim it was written in 1870 by a police court judge. As near as we know, too, it is not the official theme song of the Ivars chain of restaurants, but it darned well should be. ;) We put a piece called “Fisherman’s Frolic” on the tail end to finish it off. Monica is singing lead, with Patrick on backup, and Monica and Patrick have guitars; Dara is on bamboo flute and Anna on piccolo.

  • “Jolly Butcher”
    From Jam Session #25, 9/30/01
    “Jolly Butcher”, as performed by Great Big Sea, including the bridge lifted out of a tune called “Salmon Tails Up the Water”. This take is eight of us: Kathryn and Cyn singing on the whole song; Mimi, Fred, and guest Jammer Dana singing on the choruses; Anna and Dara on piccolos; Monica and Paul on guitar; Fred on dulcimer; Mimi on doumbek.

  • “General Taylor”
    From Jam Session #24, 9/16/01
    This is “General Taylor”, the traditional ditty. We’re using the arrangement done by Great Big Sea, because, well, that’s the one we know. Lead is sung by Mimi; backup vocals by Anna, Cyn, Fred, Kathryn, Monica, Patrick; flute by Dara.

  • “Mari-Mac”
    From Jam Session #24, 9/16/01
    Our most recent public take of this ditty, another trad one. Again, we’re using Great Big Sea’s arrangement — it’s the one we know. ;) Lead is sung by Kathryn, and all nine of us are in it.

  • “Mari-Mac”
    From Jam Session #21, 8/19/01
    This is a technically better take of “Mari-Mac”, though it doesn’t have as many of us playing on it; this take has only six of us, and only one guitar.

  • “Mari-Mac”
    From Jam Session #16, 7/15/01
    Yet another earlier take of “Mari-Mac”, again without the full group, and only one guitar.

twelve good measures does great big sea

In 2010 Great Big Sea did a video karaoke contest as part of their celebration of the release of their album Safe Upon the Shore. My fellow jammers and I were all over this, and wacky video hijinks ensued! I keep those videos up for posterity, too.