Jelly Bean Blues

by Teresa Jennings/arr. Paul Jennings

A few years ago, while practicing another blues tune, we had the singers sing along with the instrumental line similar to the "da da da dot" in this song. We did this so that the solo lines in between could be repeated by rote until they were learned. The singers enjoyed this so much, it inspired us to actually write a song using this technique. The result is "Jelly Bean Blues."

As every kid knows, jelly beans are one of the ultimate candies found in Easter baskets everywhere. But truly, jelly beans are timeless, so you could use this song whenever the sweet mood strikes.

The vocal part is unison throughout and very simple. It is doubled in the winds and guitars on the recording. The fastest way to learn it is by listening and singing along. Fortunately, the lyrics won't pose much of a challenge either. (The "t" at the end of each "dot" should be a soft one, not a crisp one.)

You will need a brave and gloomy soloist to tell the tale of woe. In our case, it was Tyler Thompson (a newbie to the K-8 kids). Tyler added a touch of "Elvis" to his delivery, and why not? Let your soloist use his or her own unique style. Though you may have to have auditions for this. It seems most of our kids wanted to sing, or rather speak, the blues.

The jazz orchestration for this tune is marvelous. Thick, tight chords abound, especially during the section at measure 17. Your jazzers will love it. Be sure to also point out the electric blues guitar (more clearly audible on the tracks version) and the dobro (acoustic resonator slide guitar), which plays improvisational fills also during the section at 17.

And remember: Don't leave your jelly beans in your pocket too long.

Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.