Song Stories: “King of the Rodeo” – The Bamboos

Over the last week and a half, I’ve been working on a video for work. Long story short – we’re launching a new product with a specific target audience, so we’re capturing the reactions of these people as we introduce it to them.

For this video – the first of its series – we went to a local event here in Amsterdam called De Parade. The Parade is a strange name for this event, because it’s really more like a carnival. Sort of. There are merry-go-rounds and food, but no rides. Instead, the rides are replaced by tents and stages where various theatrical performances of all kinds are held.

So we went to the Parade to capture the atmosphere, test out our product and share it with people there in our target group. After all the shooting I sat down to cut up the footage and start to piece together the video. I took the sound from a shot of the merry-go-round to lay a bed of background tone to the video. The clip had some music underneath it, so I looped a section to provide not only crowd noises but background music for the video.

I started to run into a few auditory issues with the video as I was cutting up one of our interviews with a girl who worked at the Parade. Unfortunately, we recorded our interview with her near some speaker that was blaring music in the background. When I placed her clips over the bed of sound and music I had created, the competing songs obviously clashed with each other.

Due to the length of the interview, there were actually two different songs heard behind clips of our interview subject that we wanted to use. One was “I Need A Dollar” by Aloe Blacc, and the other was “Sex on Fire” by Kings of Leon. I tried to use some audio filters to pull the voice out against the background noise, but it wasn’t working quite right so I had to work around it.

Later on, as I neared completion of the video, I had second thoughts about the looped crowd and music I had underneath the video and decided to ditch it. I used a different, longer clip for crowd sounds and used some EQ filters to keep out any subtle music that could be heard. I decided I wanted to use a clean track of studio music in combination with the crowd noise as my background, but I needed to find a song.

First I thought about finding the song that was playing in my original loop, so I used Shazam to figure out what it was. Turns out it was “The Clapping Song” by Shirley Ellis – a song that, at this point, had started to drive me nuts because of the loop I had created. I ditched that idea and brainstormed other music ideas. In another clip of the same merry-go-round, there was a different song playing that I liked as well. It sounded like some soul/Motown group from the same era as the Shirley Ellis song, so again I used Shazam to find it.

The song was “King of the Rodeo” by The Bamboos. I had never heard of them, and based on a quick glance at the album art I assumed they were an older group. After listening to the song a few times, I realized it was more modern, and a Wikipedia search turned up the page for the Australian funk band The Bamboos.

I liked the song right away and it worked perfectly with the video, so it made it into the final cut that was eventually shared with a small group of people testing our new product. As it turns out, the song is actually a cover of a tune by Kings of Leon, the same group that plagued one of the interviews with conflicting sound. A strange coincidence.

The Bamboos are mainly an instrumental ensemble who bring in different vocalists from time to time. The singer on this tune was Megan Washington, a fellow Australian artist. The song is from 2008, and since then the group has brought on a more permanent vocalist. At least that’s what I can tell from browsing their Wikipedia page. I’ve had a listen to their most recent album, “4” and like some of the songs. Some are just instrumental soul/funk grooves, which I appreciate.

So now I’ve discovered an Australian funk/soul group. Wasn’t expecting that. The song “King of the Rodeo” is a good one, but I may be a bit tired of it right now having used it in editing the video, forcing me to listening to it over and over. But I think in the future when I hear this song, I will be reminded of this fun project I am currently involved in at work and the good times had at De Parade in Amsterdam.

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