The Anti-Fascist Marching Band has been playing “Hallelujah Mambo” at every opportunity for about 20 years and you can bet that it has never been played note-for-note like it is written here. The first section, “Hallelujah, I’m Bum,” is from the IWW’s Little Red Song Book, a great source of radical labor songs. You can get it for free at http://www.angelfire.com/nj3/RonMBaseman/songbk.htm. Our music was lifted from the Georgetown Presbyterian Church Hymnal, where it is known as “Revive Us Again.” We always sing a verse, usually:
Oh why don’t you work
Like other folk do?
How the hell can I work
When there’s no work to do?
Hallelujah, I’m a Bum,
Hallelujah, bum again.
Hallelujah, give us a handout
To revive us again.
There are lots of other topical verses and it’s easy to write a couple lines of your own.
We segue into the street beat part with a plagal cadence (a churchy amen) and then four bars of the bass riff. The street beat is our interpretation of a tune from the Wild Tchoupitoulas. This segues into a mambo with the one bar of bass transition which cuts through the ruckus well enough that most of us can hear the change coming most of the time. Eight bars of mambo and back to the street beat. We’ve tried a lot of different ways to end it, but it’s kind of addictive. Doubling the mambo and dragging out another plagal cadence usually gets everyone to quit about the same time.
This arrangement (charts downloadable below) developed organically for the AFMB but it curiously mirrors the practice of early 20th century NOLA brass bands during funeral processions. Originally, they would play slow hymns on the way to the cemetery and then speed them up a bit on the way back, At the encouragement of their rowdy second lines, the return music got faster and beatier in later years. Fallen Heroes: A History of New Orleans Brass Bands by Richard Knowles (New Orleans, LA : Jazzology Press, ©1996) provides a detailed history of the development of this NO sound and a few hints on how to make it work today. For more charts see http://harmonicdissidents.wikidot.com/open-source-charts –Bill Clifford, AFMB
Here are the charts to Hallelujah Mambo:
[please stand by as we continue to build our Chart Art section. -ed]
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