The fifth song on the DVD is “Fine, Fine, Fine”, so we’re half-way through the DVD already. The original title of this song is “You Ain’t Nothin’ But Fine”, written by Sidney Simien aka Rockin’ Sidney and it was written in a Zydeco style as opposed to a rock ‘n’ roll style.
I first heard it via The Fabluous Thunderbirds and I really liked the way they rocked it up. In fact, everyone who was in the band at that time loved it so it got played (on cassette) all the time in the van. This was around the time we’d all decided to quit our day jobs and become full time musicians. Heady days indeed!!
During our first tour of Denmark our van broke down (“we had motor trouble and it turned into a struggle” – as Chuck Berry sang), which just about wiped out all our cash. Right after that we had some dates in the South of France, as well as some friends who lived there, so we made our way down there as fast as we could because we needed to work…and find a cheap place to stay (read: free!!).
We ended up staying just outside the city of Tarbes because our friends were living there in an old farm house, which had lots and lots of space. It was fantastic and we set all the gear up in one room so that we could rehearse whenever we felt like it. That room was big enough to hold a gig in if you wanted to. Can you imagine how free we all felt? We had nothing to do all day but play music and then sit around a long French table in the evening and eat dinner French style (hours long).
It was around this time we decided to put “You Ain’t Nothin’ But Fine” into the set. We renamed it “Fine, Fine, Fine” because that’s how it made us feel, and how we were feeling all day long. It took us a little while to nail it because there is an extra beat in the chorus and we’d never played anything like that before. We played mostly straight 4/4 time – maybe a couple of songs in 6/8 or the odd 3/4 time but we were mostly a heads-down, one, two, three, four, let’s go guys type of band.
We had many a laugh getting “Fine, Fine, Fine” to sound fine, fine, fine…and it turned into a game to see who’d lose track of the count and go off somewhere in the song. In the end we got it of course and now I couldn’t play it ‘straight’ even if I tried.
To me “Fine, Fine, Fine” is one of those songs that is always fun to play. You sing that first line and hit that first chord and bang…you’re off to the races. It’s always had the same effect on audiences as well. They’d be on the floor before the first verse was through. It’s been in the set ever since then and I never tired of playing it.
We decided to try a slightly more laid-back version of it for the acoustic show because we wanted to have it in the set but we didn’t want to try to re-create the powerful arrangement we’d developed with Albatross. There would be no point in that. By slowing it up a bit and by having the harmonica on it as well I think it moves a bit back towards the original sound/arrangement. I hope you’ll enjoy listening to it as much as we enjoyed playing it. You can view the video here
I’ll talk to you next week when I’ll be writing about the next song on the DVD – Nobody’s Girl.