November 27, 2009

Picking a Duet.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 3:33 pm

microphones_smDaughter, TJ, was at the House by the Parkway for Thanksgiving, and I picked up the guitar so we could do a bit of music while the turkey was roasting. As many of you know, TJ is a very good singer.

So, as we were sort of taking turns with tunes, which always highlights the difference between our styles, I being more of a saloon singer and she being more of a real singer, she mentioned that friends of hers (who have since become friends of mine and Mrs. Parkway’s) are planning yet another karaoke party. They are serious karaoke peeps and have all the very best equipment. They’ve held these parties in the past and, I’m told, they well-attended and are lots of fun. They’ve always invited us, but, for one reason or another, I have not been able to make it. This year looks like a “go.”

TJ said, “I know they are going to want us to sing a couple duets.”

Me: “Cool, so let’s pick out a couple tunes that might work.”

Given that I can carry a tune and she can sing, and given that we both have lots of experience singing publicly, picking out a couple duets to sing at a karaoke party should be a snap, right?


Here is just a sampling of the problems:

1. The Lyrics/Theme (the Ick Factor).
When you think about male-female duets, most of them are love songs, and I don’t mean love, in the abstract sense, but rather “Googley-Eyes at Each Other” or “Let’s Hit the Sack” – type love songs. It’s impossible for a father – daughter duo to sing those songs without pegging everyone’s “Ick Meter” at a solid 10. Think about the lyrics to “Endless Love” or “Baby, it’s Cold Outside” and imagine a father singing those songs with his daughter. Ewwwwww. Mondo creeeeeeepy. Major Ick.

So, we came up with some possibilities that avoided the Ick Factor.

2. The Key.
Our respective vocal ranges are such that we tend to sing comfortably in different keys. Given her wide vocal range, there are some tunes in which our ranges overlap. This key thing is less of a problem (or a non-problem) if I’m playing guitar, as I can just find a key that works best for any given song. But, at a karaoke party, one is stuck with key used in the background on the karaoke disc, which, more often than not, I’m told, is in the same key as in the record. Finding a workable key further reduces the possibilities from the list of songs that survived the Ick Factor cut.

3. Finding the Karaoke Version
At this point we have some songs that survived the Ick Factor cut and may be sing-able in the key of the original record, but now the problem is to find a karaoke version in either the key of the record or perhaps a different sing-able key. Oh yeah, assuming you can find such versions, they can’t be “over-produced” (i.e. where the harmony part is already provided so one person can sing the melody with pre-recorded harmony). We’ll do our own harmony, thanks.

I haven’t begun the serious karaoke version search yet, but I’m not real optimistic.

I’m beginning to think that if there really is a demand for a duet, I may have to bring my electric guitar to the party and turn off the karaoke machine for a bit, but I don’t want to run afoul of karaoke etiquette. ”Ooooh, look. Mister Fancy Schmancy brought his guitar. What a dork!”

Life is full of tough choices, peeps.

Father – daughter duet suggestions? I’m all ears.


  1. I’m going to have to research this… but didn’t Natalie Cole do some duets with her Dad, Nat King, after he passed? I know, the morbid factor, but still, I bet what she chose would work.

    I’m in awe of your family musical talent. How fun is that?

    Comment by Bou — November 27, 2009 @ 4:00 pm

  2. I’ll stop obsessing on the ‘net soon. Unforgettable was the song. And I found this link with famous father daughter singing and suggestions:

    Comment by Bou — November 27, 2009 @ 4:03 pm

  3. Actually, *you’re* the one who sounds awesome. I keep wanting to belt ’em out Ethel Merman style and then bust out in a hot tap number.

    Loved Bou’s ideas!

    Threw “Jackson” in YouTube. Didn’t have to listen long:

    “We got married in a fever, hotter than a pepper sprout”


    Comment by TJ — November 27, 2009 @ 4:57 pm

  4. I second Bou’s motion.
    Will a video be made?

    Comment by Jean — November 27, 2009 @ 8:05 pm

  5. jimbo go back to the 50’s ANGEL BABY I know you guys can do it.

    Comment by chef of da future — November 27, 2009 @ 8:37 pm

  6. Mockingbird… can’t go wrong with that:

    You won’t have to worry much about YOUR range and finding a karaoke version.

    Comment by Dan — November 27, 2009 @ 9:23 pm

  7. I guess this means “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers” is out, too? “Crying Time” isn’t too terrible. I’d give it about a 3-4 out of a possible 10 on the Ick Factor.

    BTW, re: ”Ooooh, look. Mister Fancy Schmancy brought his guitar. What a dork!” This is why I generally opt for talcum powder nowadays instead of breaking out the ol’ pool glove.

    Some dork I used to shoot against actually came to the bar for tourneys wearing a cue chalk keychain. Which, of course, made me feel better about my dorky glove. 🙂

    Comment by Erica — November 27, 2009 @ 11:30 pm

  8. I’m thinking “Something Stupid,” which Frank and Nancy Sinatra managed not to turn into farce, or if you have any C&W leanings, something out of the Kendalls’ playbook.

    Comment by CGHill — November 27, 2009 @ 11:34 pm

  9. Forgive me, but Billy Ray and Miley do a sweet song called, “Don’t Go.” I know, I know. . .

    Comment by Joan of Argghh! — November 28, 2009 @ 10:29 am

  10. I love the line in Crying Time, Tears are the rain that make love grow.

    Comment by azygos — November 28, 2009 @ 11:10 am

  11. Take a listen to “A Perfect Day” by
    Roger & Jessica Whittaker.
    Written as a father daudhter song.

    Comment by DaveC — November 28, 2009 @ 12:44 pm

  12. The 20 minute version of “Stairway To Heaven”? No, huh? 😉

    Comment by JerseyJerry — November 28, 2009 @ 3:28 pm

  13. Bou has, of course, mentioned what has become the classic Father/daughter duet.

    I think it might be possible (and would certainly be in just about every karaoke repertoire) to do Sinatra’s “I Get A Kick Out of You” as a duet – without too much of the ICK factor. LOL. It’s the only one I can think of, but I’m not at all good with music.

    Comment by Teresa — November 28, 2009 @ 3:43 pm

  14. Can you guys get around the Everly Brothers? Also, don’t the high-end karaoke machines enable the DJ to change the key?

    Comment by Cousin Jack — November 28, 2009 @ 6:14 pm

  15. “Don’t Cry, Daddy” — Elvis/Lisa Marie duet?

    Comment by Omnibus Driver — November 29, 2009 @ 4:28 pm

  16. We love spending time with our adult children. Guess that’s why I think most all the above songs would work well. I’ll throw another log on the fire by adding “You’ve got a friend” It would be neat to hear father and daughter sing parts to one another.

    Comment by h~ — November 29, 2009 @ 7:14 pm

  17. You know, the Proclaimers song “I’m On My Way” could work as a duet easily enough if you alternated verses and sang the choruses together.

    Comment by Mr. Bingley — November 30, 2009 @ 8:13 am

  18. I was thinking Unforgettable as well but then I was reminded of when Natalie brought her show to the Ritacco Center here in Toms River and she ran her Dad’s video on the screen as he sang his parts and it was…ummmm…..a tad uncomfortable.
    Great song, great idea but the execution of it in a live event turned out a bit odd.

    Comment by RobbieRob — November 30, 2009 @ 8:42 am

  19. having witnessed the talented dgt you have she could sing the phonebook and you could la, la, la, my choice would be “Happy Trails to You”

    Comment by sinister linda — November 30, 2009 @ 2:18 pm

  20. I hope you don’t mind a comment from a first timer…I have to agree with Dan, “Mockingbird” is a winner. I am a country music fan and I saw Toby Keith and his daughter perform this about two years ago on CMT. That version was great.

    Comment by Bob — December 1, 2009 @ 9:32 am

  21. […] deep meaning and can reduce you to quivering jelly in an instant (thank goodness for passably non-romantic love songs). My boss is still my friend (not to mention his entire family!), and I suppose that is the […]

    Pingback by Mending Fences. « Blog Archive « Erica's Photo Blog — March 17, 2010 @ 9:22 am

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