Spontaneous jam: USMC & HS marching band, Mardi Gras




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Is that what it’s supposed to sound like? They sound drunk.

They are swinging it quite a bit. Here’s Louis Armstrong’s version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QzcpUdBw7gs .

That definitely sounds more coherent and better. Still sounds like drunk. Is that what the song is about? Being drunk and crawling home?

Is that what it’s supposed to sound like?

Mostly the style of N’awlins jazz, partly the cruddy recording equipment and the experience of sound phasing, and partly high schoolers and pros playing by ear and catch up with each other. If the passersby in the video are smiling and grooving to it, you can generally answer “yes”.


One of the things I’ve seen when I was in New Orleans was how a more experienced musician will set the pace for the young ones who are still trying to hot dog it and show off without the basic skills quite honed. I thought the Marines were excellent about providing the structure for the teens. Sometimes it’s about the heart and not the perfect performance. What a nice moment he captured.


Is that what the song is about? Being drunk and crawling home?

The song is about finding out that your girlfriend is dead and going to the morgue to ID the body. The speaker then discusses his own death and preferred funerary disposition. Some drinking is involved but mostly bragging and crying.

Let her go, let her go, God bless her
Wherever she may be
She may search this whole wide world over
Never find a sweeter man as me

Cool video. But, I don’t think that’s a high school marching band opposite the Marine Corps band. They don’t have the typical uniforms anyway, and there aren’t devoted sections, just single instruments. There are loads of ad-hoc bands of adults that support parades at Mardi Gras, looks like that’s what we have here. Not to split hairs, but H.S. marching bands are a big deal in New Orleans.

Again, cool video. Thanks for sharing…like I didn’t need to miss New Orleans more this time of year.

As much as I love Louis, The Gene Austin Version is just haunting.
Also the very creepy Betty Boop Snow White with Cab Calloway.


FWIW - that band is from the Marine Corps facility across the river in Algiers and are very, very good. Here’s the band doing the Marine Hymn like you’d expect, but swinging it pretty hard on House of the Rising sun a little later.

It’s fun to see them switch back and forth from the precision you’d expect from Marines marching into a full-tilt rock-out and back when in parades.

I don’t know, for 20+ people playing the same thing, and spontaneously, this sounds downright amazing to me. And yes, that dissonance only adds to the song.

And man, I never thought I’d say these words but that Marine Corp singer and trombonist is fantastic.

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