Bubba's Fried Chicken Stand

Jazz Band (5:25) - February 1996


A high school friend, Matt McGuire, once said that a song is automatically good if the word "chicken" is in the title. He asked me to prove his point by writing a song called Brian's Fried Chicken Stand. Brian's evolved into Bubba's fairly quickly but the idea for a song grew more slowly. Then another friend, Mike Stafford, a spiffy vocalist and star in several school productions, entered the picture.

Presto! A vocal feature in 12-bar blues style. I was still rather new to jazz arranging so the piece is thin harmonically and fairly simple in depth. But, in true form, the lyrics are catchy.

The Lyrics:

First Verse:
Now if you're hungry, and you can,
Just go to Bubba's Fried Chicken Stand.
'Cause you know Bubba, he's the man.
He's got the finest poultry in the land.
So for home cookin' straight from the pan,
Just go to Bubba's Fried Chicken Stand.

Well Bubba's got some way to make his chicken taste good
Without preservatives or secret sauce.
He fries up eighty-nine chickens for the hen-eatin' crowd
Because you know that he's the fried chicken boss!
Now there are so many ways to get a chicken cooked up
And old man Bubba knows all the tricks.
You got your stir-fry, pan-fry, and even french-fry,
To cook those tasty little baby chicks!

Shout Chorus:
(lots of ad lib) Bubba's, Bubba's, just go to Bubba's Fried Chicken Stand.
Bubba's, Bubba's, Bubba's Fried Chicken Stand.
Bubba's, Bubba's, Bubba's Fried Chicken Stand.

The opening statement was written in the style of the Canadian Brass' arrangement of "Just a Closer Walk with Thee." I left it pretty quickly: My 'alpha listeners' didn't find it as catchy as the rest of the song, and I almost went into a country-music style.

After a short introduction, the vocalist steps to the fore and sings of old man Bubba. The saxes mimic him and then there is a solo break for trumpet. The 'improvised' solo seems somewhat rigid in the MIDI file since I am lacking in piano skills and Trumpet MIDI controllers are virtually nonexistent. Following a quick unison break, the alto sax gets space to play for two phrases.

With a lovely key change up a major second, the vocalist takes over with some more words of wisdom about Bubba. Then the band goes crazy for one phrase while the vocalist dances and swings a rubber chicken around by its neck.

The motion slows down and the piece returns to its original key with a 4 bar drum solo. Next comes the shout chorus. The vocalist has 12 bars to repeat his chorus and interject his own into the line (not scat-style). The saxes then repeat the chorus twice before the band goes wild again to conclude the piece.

This piece was played at the spring jazz concert and a few other programs throughout the year. It was also arranged for the Pinnacle Brass quintet at Virginia Tech in September of 1996, and seems to have become the closer, something of a signature piece.

A second edition of the Brass Quintet version was arranged in April 1998.

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